Nissan certainly isn’t shy when it comes to sharing details about its strikingly unusual new Le Mans LM P1 racer. The automaker has successfully generated a ton of interest in the car’s unorthodox approach to competing in one of the most prestigious race events in the world, and now that trend continues with this four-minute look at the GT-R’s powerplant.

The video focuses primarily on the car’s front-mounted twin-turbo V-6 internal-combustion engine, with the narration complemented by plenty of footage highlighting testing in the lab and out on the track. Although there seems to be a definite dearth of technical specs, the video does do a good job in explaining the stresses this remarkable six-cylinder will face at Le Mans.

Throughout the piece, there’s a clear emphasis on the importance of proper lubrication, with Motul Deputy Chief Product Officer Julien Plet making several appearances to explain things like engine wear and viscosity. Motul has partnered with Nismo, Nissan’s esteemed tuning division, since 2003, and will continue to support the Japanese automaker in its renewed efforts at Le Mans.

“[A few] key parameters that the oil will be facing is first oxidation temperature and oil consumption,” says Plet. “Typically, the race team will communicate to us vital data. These include oil pressure, oil consumption, and ratings of the mechanical parts.”

“From all this data that’s feeding into us we can determine the health of the engine and try and spot if anything is going wrong,” adds William Way, Nismo Engine Program Manager.

Continue reading for the full story.

A closer look at the GT-R LM Nismo

Personally, I would have preferred to learn more about the hybrid system than the purpose of engine oil, but I’ll take what I can get. The V-6 is noteworthy, using two turbos to boost the 3.0-liters of displacement to roughly 550 horsepower. However, this gasoline unit is mated to an energy reclamation system that throws an additional 700 horsepower into the mix, creating a grand total of 1,250. It’s part of the eight-mega-joule-per-lap LMP1-H class, where hybrid drivetrains either make or break a race team’s efforts. It’s the cutting edge of automotive technology, both on and off the track, so maybe there’s a reason the video focuses on exploding dinosaurs rather than futuristic electron-power.

If the car grids and does well, it’ll be a watershed moment for endurance racing. If it doesn’t, prepare for the inevitable hurricane of bench racer I-told-you-so’s.

Adding to this is the assumption that the hybrid drivetrain is representative of what could be found motivating the next GT-R, as Nissan’s LM P1 Team Principal and Technical Director Ben Bowlby explained to Top Gear in a recent interview: "The 3.0-litre V-6 is a sort of god-child of the true, road-going GT-R. It’s a direct injection engine, and the combustion technology, and integration of turbo and intake system within the head design, is all very interesting and highly applicable to the road. If it was a crazy engine — super light with a short life — the reality is that it wouldn’t be applicable. But it revs to the same as the road-going car — 6,500rpm — and is truly an early ancestor of what will be a future Nissan GT-R engine."

Julien Plet echoes this trickle-down effect from the track to public streets in the video, saying, “Our goal is to give back what we learn during the Super GTs and Le Mans into standard Nismo-prepared cars.”

This, of course, will benefit Nissan customers looking for that extra dose of performance, but the biggest issue surrounding the GT-R LM is undoubtedly its FWD layout. Nissan addressed this in a previous video, citing things like better aerodynamics, higher efficiency, and more stability as justifications for routing 100 percent of the power to the front.

The layout is worlds away from the status quo of engine in the middle, power at the back, and while novel, it’s certainly not making the team’s job any easier. The GT-R LM was forced to withdraw from the first two races of the season, but should make its competition debut at the 24 Hours race this coming June.

If the car grids and does well, it’ll be a watershed moment for endurance racing. If it doesn’t, prepare for the inevitable hurricane of bench racer I-told-you-so’s.

I, for one, love an underdog, and can’t wait to see what this thing is capable of. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for the latest.

2015 Nissan GT-R LM Nismo

2015 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO High Resolution Exterior
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The GT-R LM Nismo is Nissan’s strange new entry to Le Mans racing after 16 years on the sidelines. It’s also the latest creation to spring from the mind of Ben Bowlby, the same mad scientist who brought us the All American Racers DeltaWing and ZEOD RC. Made from less than 2,000 pounds of composites and exotic alloys, this car uses a hugely extended hood line to help it generate big downforce.

With the majority of the mechanical bits stuffed in front, it also uses cleverly placed inlets and ducts in the middle and rear of the car to reduce drag. To help alleviate the terminal understeer normally associated with FWD, the front tires are bigger than the rears, with 14-inchers in the nose and 9-inchers at the tail. Simply put, it’s a gamble that has yet to pay off beyond a torrent of media attention.

Read our full review here.

Jonathan Lopez
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