First time out success at Sebring for new venture

The new Nismo VK45DE LMP2 engine, the result of an exclusive partnership between Zytek Engineering and Nissan Motorsport International, has proved itself first time out by taking class pole position for today’s 12 Hours of Sebring. Driver Soheil Ayari, praised the engine’s power after a stunning lap, a massive 3.3 seconds less that the next quickest in the LMP2 category.

The Frenchman was at the wheel of Signatec Group’s Oreca, the first Le Mans prototype to race with the VK45DE power unit. His was a significant achievement, this being the first time that a Nissan engine has taken a pole position at Sebring since Paul Gentilozzi achieved the feat in the GTS class with a Nissan 300ZX way back in 1994.

The 4.5-litre Nismo VK45DE technical partnership between Nismo and Zytek was initiated last year with the Repton-based company having the exclusive rights to supply and service the engine in Europe and North America for both the Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series, as well as for the Le Mans 24-hours itself. Development work is carried out by both companies with components being manufactured at Zytek’s Derbyshire headquarters to Nissan design.

The VK45DE engine is based on the highly successful, normally aspirated Nissan VK45-SGT GT-R engine that is used in the Japanese Super GT Series, winning the championship in 2008. With the introduction for this year of production based power units for the LMP2 class, it has a major advantage over its rivals thanks to being developed from of an engine that already has a race winning pedigree.

The Signatech Oreca-Nissan 03 will be driven in today’s 12 Hours of Sebring by Ayari, Frank Mailleux and Lucas Ordoñez. One of sportscar racing’s greatest classics, the race in central Florida, which dates back to the early 1950s, starts at 10.00am EST today

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