WEC: Darren Cox leaves Nissan after 18 years

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Nissan has confirmed that global head of sales, marketing and brand for NISMO Darren Cox has left the company after 18 years of service, tendering his resignation.

Cox has been the driving force behind Nissan’s LMP1 project and return to the premier class of sportscar racing, which failed to live up to expectations at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Earlier this year, it was confirmed that Nissan’s trio of LMP1 cars would not be returning to the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015 to allow further testing to be conducted.

In a statement issued by Nissan on Friday, Cox’s resignation was confirmed, with the Briton saying that he will take his career in a new direction.

“The decision to leave Nissan and the Alliance was not an easy one,” Cox admitted. “I have enjoyed a great many years working on some amazing projects with great people and have thrived on the challenges, successes and even failures, in equal measure.

“I have seen GT Academy grow from a small European initiative to now embracing countries representing half the world’s population. I am equally proud of successes such as participating in the launch of Juke, managing marketing for Qashqai in Europe and being part of the team working to expand the Nismo Brand.

“While I am excited to take a new direction in my career, there is much that I will miss about my time with Nissan and I wish everyone all the best for the future.”

The statement added: “An announcement about subsequent restructuring within NISMO as a result of Cox’s departure will be made in due course.”

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”