I case you were unaware, Nissan is making its return to Le Mans after a 16-year hiatus with one of the most unusual cars to ever grid in endurance racing. It’s called the GT-R LM Nismo, and mounted under its elongated hood is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 engine producing roughly 550 horsepower. That much is pretty typical for Nissan, but what makes this powerplant unique is the addition of an energy reclamation system that throws on an additional 700-electrified horsepower, netting a grand total of 1,250. That’s right, it’s a hybrid, which is more than appropriate for extended stints on track. It’s also the kind of setup that’ll likely make an appearance on the 2017 GT-R road car.

That’s the word from Ben Bowlby, Nissan’s LM P1 Team Principal and Technical Director, who spoke with TopGear.com about the race car and its implications for Nissan’s production vehicles.

"The 3.0-litre V6 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,” Bowlby said. 
"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."

Continue reading to learn more about the next generation Nissan GT-R.

Why it matters

Bowlby’s statements echo those of Nissan’s Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura, who already confirmed in a previous interview that the new GT-R would indeed come with a hybridized drivetrain. 

Bowlby also went on to explain how racing not only decreases development times, but alters the public’s prejudices against certain technologies like hybridization: “We have roughly the same power as the road car (around or just over 550 bhp) but burn about a third of the fuel doing it,” Bowlby said, adding,
"Actually it’s very important that things like racing do help change people’s perspective and that having a more fuel efficient car is better for the environment and less wasteful."

Personally, I’m neither surprised nor distressed by the news. Everyone seems to be going the way of the electron nowadays, with the new NSX and i8 both receiving the lightning-bolt treatment. The new Z car might also get an electric motor installed with the ICE, and of course, there’s the holy hybrid trinity of the McLaren P1, Porsche 918, and Ferrari LaFerrari.

In the long term, it’s pretty much inevitable that most of the world’s greatest sports cars must undergo this transformation in order to stay relevant. And while there are sure to be a few teething issues, I’m confident the obsession with perfection we see in the current generation GT-R will continue forward with whatever power source happens to be driving the wheels.

Just don’t make it FWD, Nissan, and we can stay friends.

2017 Nissan GT-R

The GT-R is one of, if not the most respected Japanese sports cars of all time. It’s a technological tour de force, known for regularly spanking high-end exotics far above its price range. The current generation squirts to 60 mph in three seconds flat and can hit a top speed of nearly 200 mph, which are figures that are expected to either remain static or be improved upon for the new gen. However, with a hybrid drivetrain under the hood, fuel economy will surely increase from the current 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. We’ve put together a few sketches of what Nissan may do with the functional exterior aesthetics, so hit the link to see what it could look like once it’s released.

Read our full review here.

Source: TopGear

Jonathan Lopez
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