Nissan Motorsport's Darren Cox says he is certain Nissan will come back to the Le Mans 24 Hours 'stronger' after its much anticipated return to endurance racing was distinguished by uncompetitive pace and unreliability.

With its unusual front-wheel drive, front-engined layout, Nissan had hoped to make headway in the LMP1 ranks with something radical, but the car - making its race debut this week - proved woefully off the pace throughout, even failing to meet the 110 per cent limit required to retain its grid spots.

Once underway, the Nissans proved relative to the Nissan-powered LMP2 cars, but all three cars would also suffer a variety of issues over the course of the 24 hours, rooting it to the bottom of the timesheets.

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With the #21 car retiring early and the #22 and #23 cars forced out in the final two hours, the busiest car on track managed just 242 laps, compared with the race winning Porsche's 395 laps.

Despite this, Cox is certain Nissan's return to sportscars can be deemed a success and played down the disappointing reliability form by insisting it is not unusual in maiden campaigns

"I am feeling very proud of the whole team right now," he said. "For sure we have had problems but that's what happens when you innovate. Our engine is strong and we were able to quickly fix the other problems that we had. We have learnt an incredible amount at Le Mans and our battles will only make us stronger.

"Most LM P1 manufacturers don't finish Le Mans at their first attempt so it was important for us to hit this target," he continued. "The guys in the garage are the heroes this weekend and the drivers have all done an incredible job, sometimes in very difficult circumstances.

"They needed physical and mental strength in equal measure this weekend and every one of the nine delivered for us. We have done exactly what we needed to do. We dug in, we solved our problems, we exploited the limits of our current performance"