2015 Nissan GT-R LM Nismo Pilots: J. Mardenborough, M. Chilton, O. Pla Team: Nissan Motorsports Race: DNF (LMP1 class) at Le Mans in 2015 PremiumX - LM 1959 (resin)
Nissan, through their Nismo motorsports division, started working on the GT-R LM Nismo in early 2014. The car was ready the next year, and in February 2015 it was first shown (1’32” video) to the public. The GT-R LM was a very unique car, with a V8 up front but with front wheel drive. The idea behind the concept was that you can generate more efficiently front downforce, and with less drag. And less drag means higher speeds, which is always a plus when thinking about that long straight at La Sarthe.
The chassis was a carbon fiber affair, and the gearbox, situated in front of the engine, was a sequential X-Trac 5-speed. The engine was a 3000 cm³ V8 with dual turbochargers and direct fuel injection, delivering 500 hp. BUT, Nissan didn’t stop there. To make things even more interesting, they also added a KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) linked to the rear wheels. With that, the KERS can add another 75 hp to the rear wheels on demand, transforming the GT-R LM in an all-wheel drive. Yes, like other cars from Audi and Porsche, the GT-R LM was an hybrid.
The last Nissan prototype to race the 24 Hours of Le Mans was the R390 GT1 in 1998. Therefor, despite the tight development schedule, Nissan was under a lot of pressure when it fielded three GT-R LMs in the 2015 race. Of the three, only #22 finished the race, but did not classify, while cars #23 and #21 had to abandon. Car #23 here had to abandon on lap 234 with the transmission in flames. So all in all, a very frustrating result, to the point that Nissan walked away from the endurance prototype business after that.
In 1:43 terms, it’s a nice model, but is NOT a Spark. The car’s overall shape looks good in scale, and detail in general is quite good. But painted tail lights just don’t cut it for me. In the end I’m glad I bought it, because I got it on sale. But if the GT-R LM is anything close to a grail model, take a deep breath and cough up the money for the Spark version. If I go after the red, white and blue #21 car, I’m definitively going to get Spark’s version.