The 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans has ended and Nissan powered its way to its fifth class victory in LM P2 with engines in 12 of the top 13 finishing cars. Next year, due to new class regulations all LM P2 engines will be a mandated spec engine from Gibson Technologies.
“This year is the final year of the Nissan LM P2 engine program and I am very satisfied with our great result,” said Motohiro Matsumura, NISMO Chief Operating Officer said, in a statement. “Top nine cars using the Nissan powertrain is a good way to finish for us.”
In total, there were 20 Nissan engines in the race—a record-setting number that included 87% of the class and 35% of the entire field.
Drivers, owners, and others associated with LM P2 repeatedly describe the Nissan engine as fast, reliable, drivable, and amazing.
First developed for Super GT competition in 2007, the Nissan VK45 engine has had remarkable success in nearly every racing class it has been used in. The Nissan GT-Rs won seven victories out of nine races and were led by the No.23 NISMO, which won the championship title. The engine saw its first use in LM P2 in 2011 after it was redeveloped.
Here at Nissan of Lake Charles, we are interested to see what Nissan will do with this phenomenal engine after LM P2.
It’s a tale as old as time – motorsports and their sponsors go hand in hand. The ultimate love story – both parties need the other. Frankly, we wouldn’t recognize a race car without its sponsorship logos and emblems – or the driver without his driving suit adorned in the same money-earning patches.
Not too long ago, tobacco companies predominately held these coveted positions on race cars and their drivers, but today that’s illegal in most places. As tobacco companies have retreated to the background, energy drink companies have happily come forward to fill that void. An interesting editorial on Asphalt and Rubber warns teams not to get too used to this funding either, since these popular caffeinated drinks could suffer the same fate as those tobacco companies.
The problem is that energy drinks are already banned to Lithuania’s youth, and are facing bans for consumers under 18 in many other European countries. If a ban actually happens, it would make expensive racing sponsorship far less attractive to energy drink companies since they couldn’t reach nearly the same audience as they once did. Europe isn’t the only issue, either. The American Medical Association is also lobbying to ban energy drinks for minors in the US. It’s an issue that’s worth keeping in mind – as we shift to a more health-conscious society (and world), could motor sports take the brunt of an energy drink ban?
What do you think? Is motorsports energy drink sponsorship on its way out, or is this party just getting started?
Stop by Nissan of Lake Charles and let us know what you think! (And if you’re looking for a sporty car of your own, we’ve got you covered).
John Stelly is the owner of Nissan of Lake Charles and is active in the community with several not for profit organizations.