After debuting at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year, the 2015 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO is getting ready for its racing debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans this month. Nissan will field three cars for the June 13th race, and while two of the cars will wear the red livery that the car debuted with, the No. 21 race car will wear a special blue, white and red livery that celebrates Nissan’s 1990 Le Mans pole. To commemorate 25 years since it sat on the pole, the 1990 Nissan race car and its driver, Mark Blundell, will participate in a parade lap before this year’s race.

That year, the No. 24 Nissan R90CK started at the front of the pack with a lap time of 3:27.020; for comparison, Toyota captured the pole at last year’s Le Mans with a time of 3:21.789. To show how far LMP1 cars have come, Nissan’s 1990 R90CK was powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 producing around 1,100 horsepower, while the 2015 GT-R LM NISMO uses a front-drive-based 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that along with a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) produces 1,250 horsepower. In addition to its lap time, the R90CK was also notable for setting a top speed of 227 mph along the Mulsanne Straight, following the addition of two chicanes to reduce speeds.

To show off the throwback livery and to prepare for the race (just two weeks away), Nissan has released a really cool time-lapse video showing the Nissan team receiving its cars at the Circuit de la Sarthe (a pretty cool feat in itself) and subsequently building the trio of LMP1 racers. The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO will hit the track this weekend for the official Le Mans test day.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Nissan has never won a 24 Hours of Le Mans race, but it is channeling the spirit of one of its most competitive race cars that gave the automaker its one and only pole at the most prestigious endurance race.

2015 Nissan GT-R LM Nismo

2015 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO High Resolution Exterior
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Jeffrey N. Ross
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Press Release

Nissan today revealed a very special livery that will feature on the No.21 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO at Le Mans. Exactly 25 years ago, at the peak of the Group C era, Mark Blundell put the Nissan R90CK on pole position with a stunning 3:27.020 lap of the Le Mans circuit.

The No.21 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO is Nissan’s third LM P1 car that will be raced by current Super GT Champion Tsugio Matsuda (JAP) and two winners of GT Academy, Lucas Ordóñez (ESP) and Mark Shulzhitskiy (RUS).

The No.24 Nissan R90CK will also appear at Le Mans in a special parade to mark the anniversary of the pole lap in the hands of the man who took it to the top of the tables 25 years ago, Mark Blundell. The 1100bhp car may not reach speeds of 366 km/h (227 mph) as it did in 1990, but it is certain to grab everyone’s attention.

"That lap of Le Mans is certainly a very fond memory for me," said 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 LM P1 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."

First Run at La Sarthe for Nissan’s LM P1 Racers this Sunday

The three Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs will be on track at Le Mans this Sunday for the official Test Day. This is the first time the cars will run at Le Mans and the first time they will run with all of the other Le Mans entrants.

The Nissan NISMO LM P1 team has three Le Mans rookies who will all need to complete their mandatory 10-lap runs during the test day. To allow the team to focus on tuning the GT-R LMs into the circuit, the rookies will all drive a Ginetta-Nissan LM P3 car that will be taking part in the test.

Once their laps are complete, the car will be handed to 2013 GT Academy USA winner Nick McMillen as part of his development – once again demonstrating the global nature of the Nissan Motorsport effort. A second LMP3 car will also be on track with Olympic gold medalist Sir Chris Hoy.

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