Nissan GT-R LM NISMO
Nissan has announced that the number 21 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO will compete using a special livery at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The front-engined racing machine will commemorate one of the greatest endurance cars that the Japanese manufacture has ever produced.
Back in 1990 the number 24 Nissan R90CK managed a 3:27.020 lap of the Le Mans circuit. That was fast enough to put it on the pole position for the legendary 24 hour endurance race. Beyond this it did so looking very good, which may not be something the new GT-R LM NISMO can say.
To find out more about the R90CK and how newer race cars have become uglier, click past the jump (or scroll down if you came directly to the full article).
“That lap of Le Mans is certainly a very fond memory for me,” said driver of the R90CK, Mark Blundell. “It was one of those moments where time stood still and everything went perfectly. You remember those moments, as they don’t happen all that often. It’s great to see Nissan celebrating that time with the retro livery on the #21 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO. I can’t wait to see it on track at Le Mans.”
“Our racing heritage is hugely important to us,” said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. “Our 1998 car hangs on the wall at NISMO HQ in Yokohama as a reminder of our Le Mans podium, and the blue liveries of the Group C and IMSA era of the 80s and 90s are a firm favorite with the fans. So much so that when we first started talking about the possibility of a third car livery specifically for our LMP1 debut at Le Mans this year, this was the one that fans across our social media channels called for. It’s a great way to celebrate our past achievements at such a key moment in our current motor racing history.”
It is nice to see a salute to the past, but couldn’t the new GT-R LM NISMO look a bit better? Just look at the above two images and you can really see how much better Le Mans race cars looked 25 years ago. The older car has much better looking lines, where the newer looks a bit liken Cruela de Vil designed a race car.
The problem isn’t just with Nissan’s LMP1 car either. Another example is the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car that looks to be the car that may provide the most competition to Audi at Le Mans. However, it just isn’t a beautiful machine. Purposeful, yes, but beautiful, no.
If you look back at the legends of endurance racing, such as the Porsche 917, they have great styling. Yes they were purpose built, but they also looked good while driving over 200 mph (with poor brakes for the amount of speed, in the 917’s case).
We know that rules and aerodynamics have dictated much of the shape of this new bread of prototypes, but there is a part of us that would like to have them look a bit better. Sure racing isn’t all about that, but it is hard to think that this new crop of top level race cars will have dramatic paintings of them when 30+ years have gone.
Do you agree with us, have top level endurance racing prototypes become ugly? Or does it not matter as long as they are fast?