Nissan goes retro for 2015 Le Mans car livery

Historic racing livery will adorn Nissan’s 2015 Le Mans contender

Racing liveries are one of the most emotive subjects in motorsport. Who doesn’t hold fond thoughts of Marlborough-swathed McLarens, Alitalia-striped Lancias or Gulf-hued Porsches?

Nissan is set to race once again with its own historic livery at this year’s Le Mans 24 hours, inspired by one of its most famous racing vehicles.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

In 1991, Mazda took an historic victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Its 787B crossed the line in first place, marking milestones as both the first rotary-powered vehicle ever to win the race, as well as the first Japanese manufacturer.

The latter record could have been taken a year earlier however. With Mark Blundell at the wheel, Nissan’s R90CK set a qualifying time of 3:27.020, putting the Japanese car on pole position.

Sadly, Blundell, Julian Bailey and Gianfranco Brancatelli’s car retired during the race, but the car – and its red, white and blue livery have remained in the racing consciousness.

A quarter-century later, Nissan is once again aiming for top honours at Le Mans. Its GT-R LM Nismo is a very different vehicle, but it will wear the same livery as Blundell’s pole-sitting R90.

The number 21 car will be driven by Super GT Champion Tsugio Matsuda, and two winners of the Gran Turismo Academy competition, Spanish ace Lucas Ordonez and Russian racer Mark Shulzhitskiy.

‘Our racing heritage is hugely important to us,’ explains Darren Cox, Nissan’s global head of brand, marketing and sales. ‘Our 1998 car hangs on the wall at NISMO HQ in Yokohama as a reminder of our Le Mans podium and  the blue liveries of the Group C and IMSA era of the 80's and 90's are a firm favourite with the fans.’

Those fans might not even remember the striking colour scheme from Nissan’s 1990s efforts, but regular appearances in the Gran Turismo series of videogames – without which many of Nissan’s drivers wouldn’t be where they are today – mean they’re an indelible part of motorsport history.

Whether the front-wheel drive GT-R LM Nismo will follow suit is much less clear, but the team and fans alike will get a much better idea following the first official test day this Sunday. It’s the first time Nissan’s racer will run at Circuit de la Sarthe, and the first time it will square up to its major competition from Audi, Porsche and Toyota.

READ > Everything you need to know about the 2015 LMP1 cars

Recommended

Visit/porsche/911/201865/porsche-919-hybrid-review-driving-one-of-stuttgarts-most-successful-racers
Porsche 911

Porsche 919 Hybrid review - driving one of Stuttgart's most successful racers

18 Oct 2019

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/203098/the-worlds-10-best-gt-cars-6-4
Best cars

The world's 10 best GT cars - 6-4

These cars have the ability to make long-distance journeys relaxing while still being able to thrill on a twisting road
16 Sep 2020
Visit/best-cars/203099/the-worlds-10-best-gt-cars-3-1
Best cars

The world's 10 best GT cars - 3-1

These cars have the ability to make long-distance journeys relaxing while still being able to thrill on a twisting road
16 Sep 2020
Visit/porsche/911/203110/porsche-911-rsr-v-gt3-r-v-gt3-cup-track-only-911s-driven
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 RSR v GT3 R v GT3 Cup - track-only 911s driven

They’re aimed at different levels of motorsport, but what exactly separates Porsche’s 911 RSR, GT3 R and GT3 Cup models, and what are they like to dri…
20 Sep 2020
Visit/toyota/20522/986bhp-toyota-gr-super-sports-hybrid-hypercar-teased-in-new-video
Toyota

Toyota GR Super Sports revealed at 2020 Le Mans 24hr

Toyota is gearing up for the 2022 WEC Hypercar class, showing off it’s contender for the 2020/21 season
21 Sep 2020