Nissan bullish about unique Le Mans approach

Darren Cox (right) with designer and Nissan LMP1 team principal Ben Bowlby

Darren Cox (right) with GTR-LM NISMO designer and Nissan LMP1 team principal Ben Bowlby

Nissan’s global sales boss Darren Cox has gone to great lengths to explain the transparent approach it has adopted over its unconventional return to the outright Le Mans 24 Hour class this weekend.

Nissan has laid its cards on the table ever since embarking on the ambitious GT-R LM NISMO attack that features the bold front-wheel-drive, front-engine layout.

Cox says that part of Nissan’s philosophy is being accountable and open which has been missing from other top categories in world motorsport.

“In a way people are judging us on us being open,” Cox explained.

“Now we know that other manufacturers have had their dramas.

“I remember the first time Audi came in (at the start of last decade). Two different concepts of car.

“They weren’t sure which way they were going. They had doors falling off.”

“Last year we had Porsche and their struggles.

“But we haven’t hidden our problems so that means everyone thinks that we are the only ones who have any problems.

“But we are showing the world that going to win at Le Mans isn’t easy.”

Nissan have a team over 100 people working on the three-car Le Mans program this weekend

Nissan have a team over 100 people working on the three-car Le Mans program this weekend

Cox pointed out that many of the world’s leading categories headed by Formula 1 have a declining fan base.

“F1, NASCAR, WRC whatever it is, the numbers are going downwards,” Cox continued.

“And one of the reasons for that is people expect accessibility.

“Social media, live streaming, people expect openness.

“And I think that’s great.

“Those blokes up there with the four rings have been doing it for 15 years and they spent $3billion and they are a machine.

“And they will win on Sunday and they will probably be on the podium, all three cars because that’s the way that they run.

“So the journalists are asking why are we doing what we are doing, this is year one of a multiple year program and this is our first baby steps and we will improve going forward.

“Those of you who have got doubts about our commitment, please come and see me afterwards which is like seeing the headmaster and I shall take you into our garage and I shall introduce you to the 100 people in our garage.

“I shall show you our 10 spare engines and I shall show you are 9 spare sets of bodywork and I shall show you the effort that we are putting in.

“Our openness is critical and you don’t have to like it but that’s the way the sport will grow in the future.

“It won’t be where you have shut off press conferences and you can’t ask any questions you want to ask.

“Like us or hate us this is the future.”

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