Nissan is set to dominate this year's Le Mans 24 Hours on June 16/17 both on and off the track as it seeks to evoke the original spirit of the famous endurance race.
... gallery >>>
Whether it is the pioneering, experimental Nissan DeltaWing racing car, which aims to change the face of motorsport by proving the viability of new, efficiency-driven technology, or Nissan's dominance of the LMP2 class, where 13 of 20 cars have made the Company's powerplant the engine of choice, Nissan's on-track presence will be unmissable.
But away from the racetrack, Nissan will also have an abundance of entertainment for the 250,000 fans that flock to La Sarthe every year.
New product offerings in the form of the acclaimed Juke-R and the forthcoming Juke Nismo will excite petrolheads, while the promise of the ultimate Le Mans party atmosphere is provided by Nissan's partnership with the iconic Ministry of Sound organisation, which will provide DJs for the main stage in the Nissan-sponsored Le Mans Village.
Paul Willcox, Senior Vice President, Nissan in Europe, said: "The 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours will be Nissan's biggest yet - everything we are doing at La Sarthe this year illustrates how Nissan is the boldest, most innovative manufacturer and, moreover, how we are taking an exciting, different approach to this most famous of motor racing events.
"On-track, Nissan will be the story of the race - the radical Nissan DeltaWing, as an experimental concept, harks back to the original motor racing trailblazers of the 1920s who first set out to go as fast as possible for as long as possible. Those pioneers changed the face of motorsport and, while we can't win with the Nissan DeltaWing because it sits outside the regulations, we can't lose either - the huge strides it will help us make in terms of future motorsport and road car innovations means Nissan has won before the race even starts."
Nissan's innovation and engineering excellence extends to the LMP2 class of the race, expected to be the most hotly-contested category, where more than half of the field will be powered by Nissan engines and where the first two graduates of the Nissan-backed GT Academy initiative will be vying for class victory.
Spaniard, Lucas Ordonez and Frenchman, Jordan Tresson, were the first two champions, in 2008 and 2010 respectively, of the unique scheme, which has made motorsport careers a reality for Playstation 3 gamers. Ordonez finished second in LMP2 in his Le Mans debut last year and hopes to go one better in 2012, racing alongside ex-Formula One driver, Martin Brundle and his son, Alex, in the 2011 LMP2 class-winning Greaves Motorsport team. Meanwhile Tresson makes his La Sarthe bow in the all-French Signatech Nissan squad.
Off-track, Nissan is determined to make Le Mans 2012 the biggest motorsport bash of the year for the thousands of fans.
A partnership with the Ministry of Sound brand will see one of the organisation's top DJs take to the main stage in the Le Mans Village on Saturday night, after the bands have finished their sets. Meanwhile, a specially-built concept version of the Nissan Juke, dubbed the JukeBox, will be touring the vast Le Mans site all weekend, stopping at campsites and bringing the MoS party to every corner of La Sarthe.
Elsewhere, the very latest in Nissan's sports hardware will be on display for fans to get up close to - the Juke-R concept, received so well when it made its global debut in Dubai in January that Nissan has agreed to a limited build of 23 cars, will join the very first production version of the
Juke Nismo as a static display in the Village and will also take part in the Driver's Parade in central Le Mans on Friday, June 15.
The first in a new range of cars to bear the enigmatic Nismo badge, the muscular Juke Nismo will be launched fully in early 2013 and will see Nismo's legendary performance DNA transferred from racetrack to the road.
"Le Mans isn't just about the racing," says Willcox. "A quarter of a million people come here every year because of the unique festival atmosphere. No manufacturer will have done more to cater for the fans at Le Mans this year than Nissan - whether they want to see good, old-fashioned pushing of the boundaries on-track, mind-blowing innovation unlike any they will have seen before or simply the ultimate motorsport party, Nissan will have provided it."
Nissan's display of new products will be on display at the Le Mans Village, while visitors can also get more information from Nissan's media hub; both are situated close to the Tunnel Nord in the Village.
Even race fans who are not able to make the pilgrimage to La Sarthe will be catered for by Nissan, which will also attempt a world first by recording a crowd-sourced film of the Nissan DeltaWing's very first lap under race conditions at the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday, June 16. Using spectators sourced via Nissan's social media channels, visitors will be asked to submit smartphone videos of the DeltaWing machine passing their vantage point around the 13km circuit. These will then be stitched together to show most, if not all, of the radical car's first lap.