Nissan motorsport chief Darren Cox has split from the Japanese manufacturer, throwing its comeback in LMP1 sportscar racing into doubt.
Cox has left Nissan after 18 years of service and relinquishes his current role as global motorsport director and marketing boss of the NISMO brand and the Renault-Alliance manufacturer.
Cox says despite a number of failures and successes he has relished the challenge at Nissan and is proud of the work achieved with the GT Academy which brought through the likes of Jann Mardenborough, Lucas Ordonez, Wolfgang Reip and Gaetan Paletou.
“The decision to leave Nissan and the Alliance was not an easy one,” Cox said. “I have enjoyed a great many years working on some amazing projects with great people and have thrived on the challenges, successes and even failures, in equal measure. I have seen GT Academy grow from a small European initiative to now embracing countries representing half the world's population.
“I am equally proud of successes such as participating in the launch of Juke, managing marketing for Qashqai in Europe and being part of the team working to expand the NISMO Brand.
“While I am excited to take a new direction in my career, there is much that I will miss about my time with Nissan and I wish everyone all the best for the future.”
Nissan has confirmed a subsequent restructuring within the NISMO set-up will now take place after Cox's departure and further announcements will be made in the coming weeks.
“We would like to thank Darren for his many years of effort and innovation at Nissan and in particular to the Nismo Brand, on and off track,” Roel de Vries, Nissan's global head of marketing, said. “We wish him all the best as he enters a new stage in his career and know that he will continue to follow us closely and with continued passion in the future.”
Cox, the architect of the LMP1 Nissan NISMO project, has not confirmed what the future holds for the team after it pulled out of the remainder of the 2015 World Endurance Championship to concentrate its efforts on becoming competitive next year.