Nissan to race with retro livery on Le Mans LMP1 car

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Nissan has confirmed that it will run one of its three LMP1 entries for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans in a retro livery to celebrate to the Japanese marque’s pole position at the race 25 years ago.

The no. 24 Nissan R90CK claimed pole position at the Circuit de la Sarthe back in 1990 at the hands of Mark Blundell with what is widely regarded as being one of the greatest ever qualifying laps in the history of the event.

Although the car was forced to retire after 142 laps, it made enough of an impression to go down in Le Mans folklore and be worth celebrating for Nissan at this year’s race as it makes its return.

Two of the three Nissan NISMO LMP1 cars will run in their planned red livery, but the no. 21 piloted by Tsugio Matsuda, Lucas Ordonez and Mark Shulzhitskiy is set to take part in the race sporting the iconic white and blue design of the R90CK car from the Group C era.

“Our racing heritage is hugely important to us,” Nissan NISMO chief Darren Cox said. “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 80s and 90s are a firm favourite with the fans.

“When we first started talking about the possibility of a third car livery specifically for our LMP1 debut at Le Mans this year, this was the one that fans across our social media channels called for. It’s a great way to celebrate our past achievements at such a key moment in our current motor racing history.”

Nissan will make its long-awaited return to the premier class of endurance racing at Le Mans next month, which is also set to mark its debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III