This is the Statt Mann Baby. Time to Scatt a little bit.
I’m about to connect some dots that are out there. The headline: Nissan North America announced it’s getting out of the IMSA business. It’s leaving the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
It may not be the only manufacturer to bail. IMSA has put up a complicated partner program that puts a million dollar price tag on any auto maker who wants to run both the Weathertech and Continental Tire championships.
Nissan isn’t leaving North American racing, though. It’ll concentrate on the World Challenge series where costs are much much less and the headliner is the Nissan GTR that’s available in Nissan showrooms.
But I’m told I’m wrong to connect these dots. Darren Cox was Nissan’s motorsports boss and top of the food chain in the Nissan LMP1 program. But he left Nissan after 13 years this fall. The departure came after the LMP1 program debuted with some difficulty and Nissan in Japan put someone over Cox going forward.
The Nissan LMP1 is a complete rethink with emphasis on front wheel drive, aero and light weight rather than raw power. Three cars, though, failed at Le Mans and the car has been in testing since.
One of those tests was this week in New Orleans where tires were the emphasis. New drivers were also tested including Nelson Piquet, Jr. who won the Formula E title last year and has been a Global Rallycross competitor nearly winning the championship in 2014.
I’m told we’ll learn the driver lineup in the new year.