Automotive

Nissan reveals specs of front-wheel-drive GT-R LM NISMO

The LM Nismo's front drive setup is rare in a field of rear and all-wheel drive racers
The LM Nismo's front drive setup is rare in a field of rear and all-wheel drive racers
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The GT-R LM Nismo's front tires are wider than the rears
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The GT-R LM Nismo's front tires are wider than the rears
The GT-R LM Nismo is front engined and front drive
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The GT-R LM Nismo is front engined and front drive
The LM Nismo's front drive setup is rare in a field of rear and all-wheel drive racers
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The LM Nismo's front drive setup is rare in a field of rear and all-wheel drive racers
The Nismo's front Ohlins dampers are fully adjustable
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The Nismo's front Ohlins dampers are fully adjustable
Those carbon flanks have tunnels within them, designed to direct air to the back of the car
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Those carbon flanks have tunnels within them, designed to direct air to the back of the car
Nissan's engineers work away at the Nismo
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Nissan's engineers work away at the Nismo
The Nismo will tackle the 24 Hours of Le Mans
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The Nismo will tackle the 24 Hours of Le Mans
The Nismo's V6 engine is supplemented by a KERS system
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The Nismo's V6 engine is supplemented by a KERS system
Nissan's breakdown of the Nismo's tech specs reveals some fascinating facts about how the plan on making front-drive work at Le Mans
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Nissan's breakdown of the Nismo's tech specs reveals some fascinating facts about how the plan on making front-drive work at Le Mans

When Nissan took the wraps off its GT-R LM NISMO, many questioned why it would make a front engine, front-wheel-drive racecar when the established benchmarks in the endurance game were all using all-wheel drive hybrid setups. With Nissan's release of the full specifications have come some answers about how the company hopes to make its extraordinary creation succeed on endurance racing's biggest stage.

The gasoline component of the GT-R LM Nismo's power setup is made up of a twin-turbo, 60-degree V6 engine codenamed the VRX 30A Nismo, which powers the front wheels via a five-speed pneumatic paddle shift gearbox with a three-plate carbon clutch assembly from Tilton. For even more punch down the long straights at Circuit de la Sarthe, the ICE is augmented by electric power harvested by a KERS system.

The Nismo's front Ohlins dampers are fully adjustable
The Nismo's front Ohlins dampers are fully adjustable

At 4.65 m (15.3 ft) long and 1.9 m (6.2 ft) wide, with a weight of 870 Kg (1,918 lb). Rather than running an exhaust system under the car to the rear or fitting it with side pipes, Nissan has chosen to place the engine's exhaust directly in front of the vehicle's cabin. The side of the car is also used to channel air through tunnels within the carbon-composite bodywork to reduce aero drag.

A Cosworth engine management system is in charge of the car's anti-lag system, fuel-saving "lift and coast" systems and the driver-adjustable traction control system, while stopping power is provided by six-piston front brakes and four-piston rears.

In keeping with its quirky front-wheel drive setup, the Nismo's front tires are actually wider than the rears. Nissan is running a 16-inch rear wheel, with tall-sidewall tires measuring only 9 inches (228.6 mm) wide, which is 5 inches (127 mm) narrower than the tires on the 18-inch front wheels. This unconventional tire geometry combines with multi-adjustable Ohlins dampers up front and Penske dampers at the rear, as well as a hydraulic anti-roll bar system, to hopefully quell the understeer usually associated with front-wheel drive.

Nissan's breakdown of the Nismo's tech specs reveals some fascinating facts about how the plan on making front-drive work at Le Mans
Nissan's breakdown of the Nismo's tech specs reveals some fascinating facts about how the plan on making front-drive work at Le Mans

Inside the car's safety cell, the driver is held in place by a five point Nismo harness, and is seated on the right hand side of the cabin for easy entry and egress during the chaos of a driver change.

Nissan has a history of running crazy concepts on the racetrack. Its DeltaWing was unlike anything we'd seen before, and the GT-R LM Nismo has the potential to change the way we look at endurance racers. By the same token, Nissan's crazy front-wheel-drive experiment may be a huge flop on the big stage. We'll just have to wait until Le Mans next month to see which it turns out to be.

Below is a video from Nissan explaining some of the challenges that come with front-wheel drive.

Source: Nissan

WHY IS THE GT-R LM NISMO FWD?: NISMO UNIVERSITY

2 comments
Steve Jones
The reason why they went front-wheel-drive is because the regulations make it very easy to make low-drag front downforce. So, running front-wheel drive allows them to balance traction with grip.
keith14
Exciting times ahead for Nissan. Who would have thought a front wheel drive V6 to take on Le Mans. Nissan have some real smart people working for them, and must be sure this new concept will not fail. But as the writer suggests we will just have to wait and see. Myself I think they will pull it of. Maybe not win but last the entire race. Many would have broken down for one reason or the other. But I am picking Nissan will see out the whole race. I wish them good luck!