Nissan will power prototypes on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean this week at two dramatically different circuits in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup.
The Nissan-powered ESM squad will head to Long Beach in the USA to do battle around the concrete-lined California streets for the third round of the IMSA championship.
In France at Circuit Paul Ricard, teams in the European Le Mans Series and the Michelin Le Mans Cup championships in the Nissan-powered LMP3 category will face dramatically different conditions.
The French circuit is renowned for its vast run-off areas – marking a stark difference to Long Beach where one small mistake can cause dire consequences.
ESM will be looking to add to their success at the 12 Hours of Sebring where the No.2 entry of Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani and Nico Lapierre took the victory.
“I’m super excited to come to Long Beach,” Derani said.
“It will be my first time in what seems like one of the best street circuits in the world. Last year the team looked strong with a second place finish.
“I hope we can start the weekend with a strong car out of the box and fight for another win!”
A total of 42 Nissan-powered LMP3 cars will be in action at Circuit Paul Ricard—20 entries in the European Le Mans Series and 22 in the Michelin Le Mans Cup.
Joining the Michelin Le Mans Cup for the first time will be former GT Academy winner Ricardo Sanchez. The Mexican racer will drive for SPV Racing in a Nissan-powered Ligier.
Sanchez’s prototype program is in addition to his Blancpain GT Series commitments with GT Sport Motul Team RJN.
“I can’t wait to kick off the season, and I’m extremely fortunate to be able to compete in GT cars in the GT3 category and prototypes in LM P3—both with NISMO power,” Sanchez said.
“I had my first prototype race at the end of last year at Paul Ricard so I have an idea what to expect. It really is a fantastic opportunity for me, and I’m looking forward to showing what I can do.
“With 22 cars in the class it is going to be very competitive, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
This week’s prototype actions follows last week’s FIA WEC prologue test also at Paul Ricard. The Nissan-powered byKolles team finished the test sixth fastest overall. The first round of FIA WEC will be staged at Spa-Francorchamps on May 5.