GT Academy winners Jann Mardenborough and Lucas Ordonez will be driving the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO in this year's World Endurance Championship, Nissan has confirmed.
Though running to different schedules, the two GT Academy graduates will be fronting Nissan's return to top-tier endurance racing, with each driver set to pilot one of the three GT-R LM NISMO's that Nissan plans on fielding in the 2015 WEC season.
With other commitments in the Super GT series in Japan, Ordonez will only be able to pilot the third Nissan LMP1 at the 24 Heures du Mans race in June. However, despite also competing in the GP3 single-series, it's presumed that Mardenborough will be driving one of the two GT-R LM's that Nissan will be running at every WEC race this year.
Other drivers confirmed for the 2015 Nissan LMP1 programme are former Audi Sport driver Marc Gene and LMP2 series pilots Olivier Pla and Harry Tincknell, along with fellow Super GT racers Michael Krumm and Tsugio Matsuda. The remaining two drivers yet to be confirmed are expected to be revealed before the first round of the WEC at Silverstone on 12th April.
Nissan's GT-R LM NISMO is the first Le Mans Prototype that Nissan has fielded in sports car racing since 1999's R391. Though abiding to the current LMP1-Hybrid regulations, the GT-R LM is far different to its competitors from Toyota, Audi and Porsche: instead of a mid-engined/rear-wheel drive layout, Nissan has opted for a front-engined/front-wheel drive powertrain, with the only power being sent to the rear wheels coming from the two flywheels that are part of the car's kinetic energy recovery system.
The next-generation GT-R road car has also been closely associated with the development of the LMP1 racer, suggesting that some of the technologies featured on the GT-R LM NISMO (as well as the Nissan Concept 2020 designed as part of Gran Turismo 6's Vision Gran Turismo programme) may be implemented into the high-performance sports car.
Image Source: Nissan Motorsports