Nissan Kicks Off Return To International Sports Car Racing With Prototype Entry In The 2011 Mobil One 12 Hours Of Sebring
- First Nissan-powered prototype racing machine in legendary endurance race since the Nineties -
Today, Nissan initiates a new two-year partnership with the French-based Signature Group racing team at the famed Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring. The new Signatech Nissan team will field an open-cockpit LMP2-class sports car prototype in the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), the highest level of international sports car racing.
As part of the agreement with the Signature Group, Nissan’s Performance and Motorsports division, NISMO, will provide potent 3.4-liter racing versions of the Japanese auto manufacturer’s VK series of V-8 engines. This same engine architecture serves as the basis for the refined and powerful V-8 units found in such popular vehicles as the Nissan Titan, Armada and Pathfinder.
Driving for the new team are a pair of Frenchmen, 40-year-old open-wheel and sports car veteran Soheil Ayari and 25-year-old F3 and Le Mans Series racer Franck Mailleux, along with 25-year-old Spaniard Lucas Ordońez, the winner of the inaugural Nissan and PlayStation GT Academy competition in Europe in 2008.
Nissan has experienced tremendous success in American sports car racing with four overall wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring (1989, 1990, 1991 and 1994) as well as a pair of overall victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona (1992 and 1994). Nissan also won two manufacturer’s championships and three driver’s championships in IMSA GTP from 1988 to 1990.
“Nissan is excited to see our new partnership with Signature kick off and we look forward to a very successful partnership with the team,“ said Jon Brancheau, Vice President Marketing Nissan. ”I know our customers, fans and dealers will be following our progress at Sebring and will be anticipating our return to the Le Mans 24 hours"
The Signatech Nissan racing team will contest the entire 2011 season of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) series. Noteworthy events on the 7-race schedule include Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 1000 Km of Spa-Francorchamps and a return to U.S. soil for the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 1, 2011.
“We are delighted to team up with such an innovative car manufacturer,” said Philippe Sinault, the CEO of Signature Group. “Nissan’s engine expertise will be crucial to the overall performance of the car, and we are sure this partnership will be highly successful.”
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.NissanUSA.com.
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