GT-R LM NISMO: Front wheel drive explained

Nissan is bidding in the combination of a front-engine with a front-wheel drive.

GT-R LM NISMO: Front wheel drive explained
#22 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM NISMO
#22 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM NISMO detail
#22 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM NISMO
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo and #42 Strakka Racing Dome Strakka S103 - Nissan: Nick Leventis, Danny Watts, Jonny Kane
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo and #42 Strakka Racing Dome Strakka S103 - Nissan: Nick Leventis, Danny Watts, Jonny Kane
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo photoshoot
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo photoshoot
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo photoshoot
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo testing
Nissan GT-R LM Nismo testing

Front-wheel drive is very common in road cars, but highly uncommon in pure-bred racing cars. The GT-R LM NISMO is front-wheel drive. It is also front-engined. This is a unique combination for a top-class Le Mans racer. Nissan believes this combination is the key to unlocking traction, stability and straight-line speed advantages over the rear-engined, rear-wheel drive cars competing in the LM P1 class.

“Fundamentally what the GT-R LM NISMO concept gives us is a greater percentage of the car’s mass (around 65%) over the internal combustion engine-driven (front) axle. Combined with the huge amounts of front-end downforce and much wider tyres fitted to the driven wheels we can generate more traction, and run at higher speeds before experiencing aquaplaning in extreme wet conditions.

The wheels always 'pull' the car which means as long as you are under acceleration, the rear end of the car will always be stable and cannot suddenly spin you around.

Michael Krumm

Having the weight, aero and tyre balance on the front also means you have a car that’s inherently very stable, not one that’s sitting on a knife-edge. Providing our drivers with a fast, stable car that’s more forgiving and helpful in those typical Le Mans moments when the unexpected happens was one of our strategic imperatives.”

What challenges does this radical car present the drivers, and how does it feel to drive? Let Michael Krumm, NISMO’s most experienced driver, and the man who has been involved in the GT-R LM NISMO development programme from the very first shakedown, put you in the driver’s seat.

“The driving position is very far back behind the engine, so it feels unusual the first time you sit in there (as you can see much more of the front end of the car than you usually would). But then you drive it and, initially to your surprise, you find it’s very sharp on turn-in and the traction is extremely good. We’re putting a lot of horsepower through the front wheels, so I expected it to have loads of wheelspin, but it pulls really well.

“The wheels always 'pull' the car which means as long as you are under acceleration, the rear end of the car will always be stable and cannot suddenly spin you around. That is particularly helpful in wet conditions. Also there are certain types of corners where this 'pulling' of the car can actually create more grip than a conventional rear wheel driven car.

“I think it’s going to be very interesting at Le Mans because we’re going to be quicker and slower than other cars in different places on the track. It’s going to be really exciting to see where we are better. If it’s wet or a little dangerous suddenly I think the front-wheel drive is going to show some really serious advantages.

“The aerodynamic concept and low-drag of the car means when you get onto the straights is just goes and goes and goes. We’re going to reach really good top speeds at Le Mans. Usually when you drive an LM prototype you accelerate quickly, but then you hit a bit of an aerodynamic brick wall, but the GT-R feels really slippery through the air. I love the V6 engine, too. It’s a really nice turbo engine that has terrific torque right through the rev range.”

Nissan NISMO

 

 

shares
comments
KCMG primed for ORECA 05’s debut at Le Mans Test Day

Previous article

KCMG primed for ORECA 05’s debut at Le Mans Test Day

Next article

First images of low-drag Strakka Dome LMP2

First images of low-drag Strakka Dome LMP2
Load comments
How an ingenious fix prevented Paul Newman from winning Le Mans Prime

How an ingenious fix prevented Paul Newman from winning Le Mans

It's one of the great what-if stories in Le Mans history. Paul Newman finished second in the 24 Hours in 1979, but it could easily have been a famous victory were it not for the resourcefulness of the late Manfred Kremer.

Le Mans
Apr 13, 2021
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home Prime

The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home

Keeping trophies and momentos of key triumphs is par for the course for motorsport professionals, but what are the most cherished souvenirs picked up by the drivers and engineers who have seen and done it all?

General
Dec 26, 2020
The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era Prime

The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era

Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other.

Le Mans
Dec 16, 2020
How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend Prime

How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend

He is synonymous with success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but Tom Kristensen's sportscar legacy amounts to much more than his record-breaking nine Le Mans wins, as the most successful driver ever at Sebring and a world champion to boot…

Le Mans
Dec 7, 2020
Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars Prime

Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars

OPINION: The news that Audi will return to Le Mans means we'll at last get to see the fight promised in 2012 against Peugeot and Toyota. It also gives LMDh a tangible form, which could open the floodgates for more like-minded marques to follow suit…

WEC
Dec 1, 2020