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Sebring Sees Nissan Return To Big-time Sports Car Racing

After 15 years, Japanese maker becomes engine supplier – and gets class pole and second-place first time out.

by on Mar.21, 2011

Nissan gets serious about motorsports with its new LMP2 racer making a Sebring debut.

Nissan has a long and rich history in sports car racing that dates back to 1966.  Here in America, they raced the little Datsun 510 sedan, the famous 240 Z and its successors, and a raft of Nissan-powered sports prototypes that competed in IMSA GTP prototype and Group C racing at the 24 Hours of  Le Mans.

Nissan came roaring back to prototype racing at the 2011 12 Hours of Sebring — where it won overall victories in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1994 — as an engine supplier to the French Signatech team racing in the LMP2 class for prototypes will small engines.  Signatech’s campaign was led by French drivers Soheil Ayari and Franck Mailleux and 25-year-old newcomer Lucas Ordoñez, who got the seat by playing PlayStation 360 GT5 against all comers in the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy competition in 2008 — and training in real cars ever since.

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“Nissan is excited to see our new partnership with Signature kick off and we look forward to a very successful partnership with the team,” said Jon Brancheau, vice-president for marketing at Nissan. “I know our customers, fans and dealers will be following our progress at Sebring and will be anticipating our return to the Le Mans 24 hours.”

The Signatech Nissan racing team will contest the entire 2011 season of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) series. The 7-race schedule includes Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 1000 Km of Spa-Francorchamps and a return to U.S. soil for the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 1, 2011, followed by the season-ending event in China.