Nissan will power prototypes on both sides of the Atlantic this week at two dramatically different racetracks – the famous street course in Long Beach, California & Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France.
Fresh from its victory at Sebring, the Nissan-powered ESM team heads to Long Beach to compete in the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sport Car Championship on the tight 1.97-mile street course lined with unforgiving concrete walls.
At Circuit Paul Ricard in France, the teams in the European Le Mans Series & Michelin Le Mans Cup championships will face dramatically different conditions in their Nissan-powered LMP3 prototypes. Paul Ricard is more of a traditional road course & a track known for vast run-off areas that are paved.
ESM will be looking to add to its success at Sebring where the No.2 entry of Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani & Nico Lapierre took the victory. Derani said :
“I’m super excited to come to Long Beach. 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 with the Mexican racer driving for the 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. Sanchez said :
“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 & prototypes in LMP3 – both with NISMO power. 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 & 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 action follows last week’s FIA WEC prologue test which was also held at Paul Ricard. The Nissan-powered byKolles team finished the test sixth fastest overall.