Nissan withdraws from opening two rounds of WEC season

Nissan has pulled out of the opening two rounds of the World Endurance Championship to concentrate on its Le Mans 24 Hours campaign

Nissan withdraws from opening two rounds of WEC season

The Japanese manufacturer made the decision to withdraw its radical front-wheel-drive GT-R LM NISMO from WEC races at Silverstone and Spa after a troubled start to its development programme, which included cutting short a test at Sebring at the start of this month.

Nissan global motorsport boss Darren Cox told AUTOSPORT: "Our main aim for this year was always Le Mans and we have decided to re-focus on that race.

"It's no secret that with such a different car that we have faced a number of challenges, so right now we would rather be testing in April and May rather than racing."

Cox said that the WEC and the FIA were "very supportive" of Nissan's decision.

A statement from WEC boss Gerard Neveu read: "Nissan is not the first manufacturer to miss the start of the season and they won't be the last: Toyota previously did the same and they are now our world champions.

"To build a LMP1 hybrid programme is very challenging; It takes some time and we fully trust Nissan to be on the LMP1 grid of the WEC from Le Mans."

Cox was unable to confirm rumours that the GT-R LM had failed its crash test, which means the car would not have been able to be homologated within the required 30 days of its first scheduled race appearance at Silverstone.

It is understood that there was a minor issue with its front roll structure that is being rectified in time for a re-test next week.

The Nissan LMP1 has yet to test since its last outing at Sebring, when a problem related to the engine mounting of the twin-turbo V6 curtailed the run after two days.

Cox said development would resume in the US next week.

Nissan will also now miss the official WEC test at Paul Ricard on March 27/28, at which it was scheduled to be present with one car.

The Japanese manufacturer will have a presence at the WEC opener at Silverstone on April 12 with a show car and members of its P1 driving squad.

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