Nissan’s announcement that it would return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans took most racing enthusiasts by surprise. Not because it represents Nissan’s comeback to the prototype class after 16 years, but because its vehicle of choice, the GT-R LM Nismo, is unusual in many respects. First, its engine is mounted at the front, which makes the GT-R LM different than any of its competitors. Second, and more important, it’s a front-wheel-drive car. If the GT-R LM competes in this year’s Le Mans, it will become the first front-engined, FWD vehicle to do so in more than eight decades. And I say "if," because the GT-R LM has failed to race at Silverstone and it won’t make it to Spa Francorchamps either.

The obvious explanation for the GT-R LM’s absence is that the car isn’t quite as competitive as Nissan had hoped. As a result, the Japanese decided to focus on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the race Nissan says it specifically designed the car for.

With less than three months left until the checkered flag drops on Circuit de la Sarthe, Nissan is elbow deep in getting the car ready for the world’s No. 1 endurance event. It remains to be seen whether the GT-R LM will be ready in time and if it’ll make an impact against the more traditional LMP1s from Audi, Toyota, and Porsche, but, in the meantime, Nismo took great pride in designing this car in the virtual world. More on that in the video above.

Nissan GT-R LM Nismo

2015 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO Exterior
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Find out more about the Nissan GT-R LM in our detailed review here.

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