By: Jamie Klein, News Editor
Nissan has withdrawn its entry from next year's FIA World Endurance Championship, it was announced on Tuesday.
The Japanese manufacturer returned to top-flight sportscar racing this year for the first time since 1999 with its innovative front-engined GT-R LM NISMO.
Despite being originally entered for the full WEC season, Nissan chose to pull out of the first two rounds in order to better prepare for the Le Mans 24 Hours, to date the only race in which the car has appeared.
With no functioning hybrid system, it lapped well off the pace of its LMP1 competitors, qualifying 25 seconds slower, with none of the team's three cars classified at the finish.
The decision was subsequently taken to withdraw from the rest of the WEC schedule, which was followed by the news that the architect of the ambitious project, Darren Cox, would part ways with Nissan.
And now, despite testing the car as recently as this month, Nissan has reached the conclusion that the car would not ever be capable of matching the performance of LMP1 rivals Porsche, Audi and Toyota.
The full statement read: "Today, Nissan announced that it will withdraw its LMP1 entry from the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.
"Nissan entered LMP1 in the 2015 season with an innovative new, and bold concept, with the ambition to compete at the front of the field.
"The teams worked diligently to bring the vehicles up to the desired performance levels. However, the company concluded that the program would not be able to reach its ambitions and decided to focus on developing its longer term racing strategies.
"Racing is a core part of the Nissan DNA, and the company has a proud history of innovating to win. Nissan's commitment to motorsports remains strong, as evidenced by its victorious track record in the 2015 season – from achieving the overall winner of Super GT two years in a row in Japan, to winning the Blancpain Endurance Pro Class, Bathurst 12hr race with the GT-R GT3.
"Nissan will continue its support of WEC through its various engine programs including recent introduction of LMP3 engine."