Photo: NISMO

Nissan announces Formula E effort from 2018

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Add Nissan to the list of manufacturers competing in the FIA Formula E Championship. Nissan will enter from season five in 2018, and more importantly, become the first Japanese manufacturer (ahead of Toyota, Honda and Mazda) to enter the electric open-wheel series.

The NISMO release is below.


Nissan will become the first Japanese automotive brand to compete in the all-electric FIA Formula E racing championship starting in 2018.

The move to participate in the growing Formula E series gives Nissan a highly visible global platform from which to spread the message of Nissan Intelligent Mobility – the company’s three-pillar strategy to redefine how its vehicles are driven, powered and integrated into society.

“As the ultimate expression of the thrill of instant acceleration and agile handling that’s at the heart of Nissan zero-emission driving, Nissan is going to electrify the Formula E championship,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president of global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and battery business, and chairman of Nissan’s management committee for Japan, Asia and Oceania.

“Nissan will be the first Japanese brand to enter this growing championship, bringing our long history of motorsports success to the Formula E grid. It will give us a global platform for bringing our pioneering Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy to a new generation of racing fans.”

Nissan cemented its position as the leading mass-market zero-emission brand with last month’s unveiling of the new Nissan LEAF. The second generation of the five-door all-electric vehicle is packed with ingenious technology that embraces the early steps of advanced driver assistance.

The new LEAF replaces the first-generation model, which pioneered accessible zero-emission mobility with its launch in 2010. Nissan has sold more than 280,000 LEAFs globally, making it the world’s best-selling electric vehicle. LEAF customers have driven more than 3.5 billion zero-emission kilometers combined.

“Nissan’s DNA is rich in innovation in electric mobility, not to mention a long history of success in motorsports,” added Schillaci. “It makes sense that we bring these two core elements together by competing in Formula E.”

Launched in 2014, the FIA Formula E championship is a global racing series where teams and manufacturers compete with all-electric powertrains on street circuits set up in major urban centers around the world.

“To have a name like Nissan coming on board is a momentous day for the series,” said Alejandro Agag, the founder & CEO of Formula E.

“Not only is it great to welcome a new manufacturer to the Formula E family – it’s great to see our first Japanese manufacturer entering the frame, showing truly how global the electric revolution is. Japan is a country at the forefront of new technologies, with one of the biggest followings of Formula E. The shift toward sustainable mobility is in motion, and it’s unstoppable. I look forward to seeing the Nissan logo adorned on the new-look cars for season five.”

Nissan will compete from season five, which is expected to begin in late 2018, when the all-electric championship will introduce new chassis and battery specifications.

The company will work with its partner Renault to leverage expertise and development already available, in keeping with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi automotive partnership’s focus on collaboration and maximizing synergies to boost competitiveness.

Season four of Formula E begins this December and runs until July. The global championship visits key venues including Hong Kong, Berlin, Paris, New York and Montreal.

Further information about Nissan’s participation will be available closer to season five.

IMSA: Heavy news week leading into Thanksgiving holiday

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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After the weekend and before the Thanksgiving holiday this week, IMSA has rolled out a number of announcements itself, while IMSA could be set for further announcements in the weeks to come starting next week.

Here’s a roundup:

QUALIFYING AT ROAR SET FOR PIT POSITIONS, GARAGES AT ROLEX 24

Here are key notes from IMSA’s Monday release about how Sunday at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 will take on a greater significance:

  • The pit boxes and garages each team will use during the Rolex 24 will now be allocated based on fastest qualifying times set during Sunday’s third and final day of the Roar. Each of the three WeatherTech Championship classes – Prototype (P), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) – will have a 15-minute qualifying session on Sunday, Jan. 7.
  • The fastest-qualifying Prototype will receive the first pit box on pit lane starting at pit-in and also will be assigned to the first garage in the Prototype section of the WeatherTech Championship garage. The fastest GTD car will receive the second pit box on pit lane and the first garage in the GTD section, with the fastest GTLM car receiving the third pit box and the first garage in the GTLM section.
  • New for 2018 – P and GTLM will pit together under a full course yellow. Therefore, to give class separation in the pits, P and GTLM teams are assigned pit boxes to ensure they are separated by a GTD Team.

This, coupled with the addition of the first IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda one-hour, 45-minute race with two drivers, will make this a more shaken up Roar.

REGS, REGS, GET YOUR REGS

IMSA has released the Sporting and Technical Regulations for 2018 this week. The aforementioned note about P and GTLM teams pitting together is a change from P and Prototype Challenge (PC) class cars pitting together, with GTLM and GTD together as it was this year.

Restart procedures changed will see P cars moved to the lead ahead of GT cars; this created confusion at times throughout 2017 as sometimes another class leader in PC, GTLM or GTD had been the first car behind a pace car.

Each team will be limited to one car change in-season only, subject to “force majeure.”

On the off chance a driver is racing in two cars, his or her maximum drive time will be counted cumulatively between the two cars.

There are other tweaks, of course, but most are largely procedural or within the fine print.

RATINGS REVEALED

The good news with IMSA going down from four classes to three for 2018 is that only one designated pro-am class remains in the form of GT Daytona, which requires at least one Silver (or Bronze) full-season driver alongside the designated pro. Those sneaky “Super Silvers” remain an invaluable asset for using his or her results to their benefit.

The FIA released the initial driver ratings for 2018 this week with a few changes, some young pros going up from Silver to Gold and others getting their request to get downgraded from Gold to Silver approved. Drivers have a couple weeks to appeal if they so desire.

Here’s your friendly reminder of what drivers can be in what GTD cars for the first two races at Daytona and Sebring:

  • Daytona (5 drivers max): GTD: In any nominated two (2) or three (3) Driver combination, a maximum of one (1) Platinum or Gold rated Driver is permitted. In any nominated four (4) or five (5) Driver combination, a maximum of one (1) Platinum and (1) Gold rated Driver are permitted or a maximum of (2) Gold Drivers.
  • Sebring (4 drivers max): GTD: In any nominated two (2) or three (3) Driver combination, a maximum of one (1) Platinum or Gold rated Driver is permitted. In any nominated four (4) Driver combination, a maximum of one (1) Platinum and (1) Gold rated Driver are permitted or a maximum of (2) Gold Drivers.

MAZDA KEEPS ON TESTING, CLOSES ON ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Los Angeles Auto Show, held after Thanksgiving, is a likely landing spot for Mazda Team Joest to reveal, officially, its revised “Evo” version of the Mazda RT24-P and its driver lineup for the 2018 season. While most of the Prototype class lineups (DPi and LMP2-spec cars) have been revealed, Mazda’s has been an exception. In the interim, not long after its Daytona test late last month, they’ve also been testing at Sebring.

FROM SPACE CENTER TO DOWN UNDER

Jordan Taylor undertook testing of a different kind not long ago at, of all places, the Kennedy Space Center. One of this year’s Prototype class champions was undertaking a straight line test in his No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Taylor being Taylor, the moment couldn’t pass without him winning at social media (see third tweet).

Taylor goes from down a long runway to down under, visiting his first Virgin Australia Supercars Championship race this weekend at its season finale in Newcastle.

‘MAKING OF A CHAMPION’ PIECES ROLL OUT

The fourth installment of IMSA’s “making of a champion” series highlights Jordan Taylor, who co-drove with brother Ricky to the Prototype class championship this year. These two are part of four done by IMSA so far, along with Pato O’Ward (PC) and Christina Nielsen (GTD). More should follow in the coming weeks.

SPEAKING OF CHAMPS, HINDMAN, AGOSTINI, PRESTIGE WIN LAMBORGHINI WORLD FINAL

The Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final was held last weekend at the Imola circuit in Italy and the American Prestige Performance team won the World Final overall, with co-drivers Trent Hindman and Riccardo Agostini.

The World Final brings together teams from North America, Europe and Asia that campaign the spec Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 in Super Trofeo regional competition. Hindman and Agostini got the weekend off on the right foot by winning the North American championship first, then followed it up at the World Final itself to topple all other domestic and international entries.

You might remember we profiled Hindman last month, as the 22-year-old’s star in the sports car world is clearly on the rise.

Somehow, someway, at the end of the day today we received the title 2017 Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Champions. Race 2 was not perfect and much more nerve racking than we would have hoped but fortunately in the end the job was done. I am honored to be sharing this with @rickyagostini as well as the entire @prestigeperfctr @waynetaylorracing team and I thank them for their incredible effort all year. With this result, we are the first ever American team to win the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Championship overall. 3/4 overall wins along with the Super Trofeo North America and World titles marks the end of a successful 2017 campaign. Back to reality tomorrow. Thank you all for following us along on this incredible journey.

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