Nissan has commenced winter testing with its GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 challenger having announced it will return to racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2016.
The team endured a difficult year after initially billing its return to the WEC this season but pulled out of the opening two rounds of the WEC at Silverstone and Spa to concentrate its efforts on being prepared for the Le Mans 24 Hours race.
Despite making it to Le Mans, albeit considerably off the pace of fellow LMP1 factory efforts of Porsche, Audi and Toyota, it was a disastrous race as all three cars failed to secure a classified finish due to technical faults. Since then the team ended its participation in the remainder of the 2015 campaign to resolve its problems and prepare a new car for 2016.
Head of Nissan NISMO Darren Cox has departed from the manufacturer while the senior management team has undergone a reshuffle, with Michael Carcamo switching from Nissan Mexico to the NISMO project as team principal which allows former leader Ben Bowlby to concentrate on the development stage.
Nissan ran an initial shakedown in October on its revised car in a two-day test at the Circuit of the Americas with Harry Tincknell and Olivier Pla at the wheel. The team has explained the car has undergone 'multiple changes' since Le Mans but the original design principles of front-wheel drive with a new hybrid engine remains.
The team has since broken further ground at a second two-day test this time at the NOLA Motorsports circuit in Avodale in Louisiana. Nissan confirmed it evaluated the new Michelin tyre compounds to be used in WEC next season as well as further tests on the latest specification.
The latest model looks a lot slimmer than Nissan's 2015 efforts and noticeably has two new air intake vents on the front of the chassis in line with the front wheels.
“We are committed to competing at the highest level and we are not happy when we are not winning,” Shoichi Miyatani, NISMO President, said in October. “Let's not forget that while we have been pushing forward with the LM P1 challenge we have won the Blancpain Pro Cup Drivers title in Europe with the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 and are on target for another great year of success in GT500 in Japan. Racing is a vital part of our DNA and we will work to get this right.”