We all remember the Nissan GTR-LM LMP1-H car. It was a radical rethink on the current state of Prototype Racing. Front Engines, Front Wheel Drive It was like no other car on the grid. However it was plagued with problems ranging from suspension geometry to a complete failure of the hybrid system. They tested and tested and tested some more to try to fix the issues. They even sourced a brand new 100% redesigned hybrid system to try to make the grid for 2016. They didn’t and the program was killed. The GTR-LM’s were big on hype, big on ideas but in the end it only competed it one race. The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans where not 1 of the 3 cars were classified at the end of the race. All in all a fairly epic fail.
However there were some good components to come out of the project. The 3 liter twin turbocharged V6 developed by Cosworth might be about to get a 2nd lease on life. In one of those whispers of a rumors that is way to logical not to be true, Nissan is shopping around its engines without a home. Specifically to the LMP1 Privateers who both currently run AER power-plants. Rebellion Racing and ByKolles Racing are the 2 teams running in the LMP1 Privateer sub-class. The class itself has yet to gain any traction whatsoever. Why? it is ludicrously expensive and these teams have absolutely no chance to compete with the big Factory Programs from Porsche, Audi and Toyota.
Rebellion seems to be the most interested party in the Nissan Engines. They are the benchmark in the class, they win everything and have even showed up on a couple of overall podiums.
“We do have the option [to switch engines], and with most of the deals we do, it’s generally speaking a year-on-year basis. We can look to other options if we want to on the engine,” Hayden told Sportscar365. “That might be something that would be quite interesting because the engines have sat there. I imagine it wouldn’t take a huge amount to take them up to the fuel-flow that we’re using today, so that could be one option.”
Hayden and others are being understandably coy when it comes to their decision. AER, Judd and Gibson (Gibson got the exclusive spec engine tender for LMP2) will all be offering LMP1 engines for 2017. Given there are only 2 teams in the sub-class at the moment that means 2 engine builders will be going home unhappy. No word on when ByKolles will make their decision but Hayden believes they will be announcing Rebellion’s future soon.
“We have to think that by COTA you should have a decent idea. We have some meetings next week that might start to narrow down the options.”
Personally I hope they go the Nissan 3.0 liter route. Many people put in huge amount of hours to design and build that engine. It would be an absolute shame for it to fire in 1 race and then fade into history. A footnote to a failed car. We will have to wait until COTA to get a clearer picture but knowing Rebellion I would be surprised if they didn’t go with the Nissan Engine.