LE MANS, France (21 June 2016) – Nissan has finished its stint in the LM P2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with another dominant performance including victory for the Signatech Alpine Squad.
The No.36 entry of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Stephane Richelmi took a two minute, 40 second victory over the Nissan-powered G-Drive Racing Oreca with the SMP Racing BR01 entry a further four laps adrift.
Nissan actually filled 12 of the top 13 finishing positions to take its fifth class victory from six attempts.
For 2017, the LM P2 class regulations will change with every car in the field using a mandated spec engine from Gibson Technologies
“This year is the final year of the Nissan LM P2 engine program and I am very satisfied with our great result,” said Motohiro Matsumura, NISMO Chief Operating Officer said. “Top nine cars using the Nissan powertrain is a good way to finish for us.”
The Nissan VK45 engine was first developed for Super GT competition and used from 2007 through 2009. In 2008, the Nissan GT-Rs won seven victories out of nine races with the VK45 and the No.23 NISMO entry won the championship title.
The engine was re-developed for LM P2 and introduced in 2011. NISMO driver Tsugio Matsuda is the only driver who drove both the VK45 engine both in Super GT and LM P2.
This year there were a record 20 Nissan engines in the LM P2 class – 87 percent of the class and 35 percent of the entire field.
Olympic Cycling Legend Sir Chris Hoy Makes Le Mans Dream a Reality Olympic Gold medalist and cycling World Champion Sir Chris Hoy realized a lifelong dream on the weekend when his Nissan-powered Algarve Pro Racing entry took the checkered flag at the Le Mans 24 hours.
Teammate Andrea Pizzitola took the finish line in the No.25 Ligier chassis, bringing the team home 17th overall and 12th in class.
A BBC2 documentary crew has been following Hoy on his three-year journey with Nissan, culminating here at Le Mans. This will air on September 11 at 8:00 p.m. (UK time).
“Just when you think you’ve seen everything a race has to offer, right at the death of the race, you see something else happen – incredible,” Hoy said. “The Toyota pulls over – the disappointment, heartbreaking scenes in their garage, the delight in the Porsche garage, an amazing race. And for us, to see Andrea crossing the line, to see everything that meant for the team was amazing. Thinking about starting out at Oulton Park doing track days, sitting for my test, the whole journey to get here. There were times when I didn’t think it was going to happen and I thought, a bit like the Olympics, thinking even if you don’t make it, you might get half-way
and do something exciting. But even with this, I thought I’d got to race British GT and European Le Mans series last year and test the LM P2 car last year, so I’d already done something great. But we made it here to Le Mans – and we didn’t just make it. We finished the race – just amazing.”
Alliance Athlete Pizzitola Impresses in Le Mans Debut
Renault-Nissan Alliance athlete Andrea Pizzitola impressed in his 24 Hours Le Mans debut teamed with Sir Chris Hoy and Michael Munemann.
The Renault Sport Trophy winner from 2015 actually celebrated his birthday during the race. When he began a stint at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night, he was 23; when he exited the car in the early hours the follow morning, he had turned 24 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“This is crazy,” said Pizzitola. “The last stint was fun. I wanted to push. The car felt great, and my lap times were good. It feels amazing to have finished the race. I don’t think I’ve quite realized it just yet. Since the race started, I’ve just felt like I am in a different world – in a machine – so to get to the end and realize what we have done feels fantastic. The last lap was just the best feeling in the world. I’m so happy”
The performance of Pizzitola capped off a brilliant 24 Hours of Le Mans for Nissan according to NISMO Global Motorsport Director Mike Carcamo.
“A fantastic result at the end of 2016 Le Mans,” said Carcamo said. “Twelve of the top 13 finishers powered by Nissan, and Sir Chris Hoy and Andrea finishing their first ever Le Mans – we really can’t ask for a better result.”