Nissan is set to return to top-level motorsports as it prepares to replace Renault as the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s brand of choice in Formula E. It will be the first time Nissan takes center stage since its embarrassing LMP1 program in 2015, when the brand developed an underperforming front-wheel drive racer. Nissan canned the program the same year.
Despite the unsuccessful LMP1 program, Nissan believes it learned a lot in its short time in the World Endurance Championship, and it will use those lessons to strengthen its Formula E program. Michael Carcamo, head of Nissan’s motorsports arm Nismo, told in a report published on Tuesday that the team will utilize every ounce of information learned from various motorsports.
“Whether it’s Super GT or LMP1 or DPi,” Carcamo will tap each engineer involved to ensure a winning formula. He named the LMP1 program specifically and said the short-lived campaign taught engineers lessons in “what worked and what didn’t.” He also touted Nissan’s future Formula E success with the brand’s pedigree in developing electric cars. Nissan brought the first mass-market electric car to market in late 2010 with the Leaf.
“We just launched the second-gen Leaf [electric road car], we’ve been doing research and development on electric vehicles for quite a number of years,” he said.
Its electric-car expertise won’t be on display immediately. Nissan will use Renault’s powertrain for its introductory 2018-2019 season. For the 2019-2020 season, Nissan will be free to homologate its own powertrain. Carcamo was humble, however, and realized Nissan will be yet another newcomer. He added the 2018-2019 regulation changes to run a single car for the whole race presents less of a disadvantage for the brand as it begins its campaign in the new but growing all-electric motorsport.