The Nissan ZEOD RC will take on the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hour race as a 300km/h sports car that will be a test-bed for its zero-emissions road car technology.
Nissan unveiled the radical ZEOD RC – Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car – on the eve of last weekend’s Le Mans race.
The racer uses the same lithium ion battery technology as the Nissan Leaf electric hatchback current sold in showrooms, and will form the start of a trial of drivetrain technologies as the company targets eventual overall victory at the French endurance race.
The Nissan ZEOD RC will compete as a ‘Garage 56’ entry – which is an additional spot on the grid reserved for racers showcasing new and innovative technology.
Having sought input from Japan, Europe and the US, the prototype is to be run as a full factory Nissan/Nismo international package.
Newly appointed director of innovative motorsport Ben Bowlby, who worked on the Nissan Deltawing program in 2012, heads the Nissan ZEOD RC design team.
“Nissan is a leader in electric vehicle technology for the road; now we want to take those lessons learned and utilise that knowledge base in the development of the new race car,” said Bowlby.
“This will provide us with significant amounts of data and information to evaluate potential powertrains for future sports car programs and allow us to continue as the leader in zero emissions technology on the road.”
A large part of our work in the coming months is to discuss with the ACO [Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the Le Mans organising body] future opportunities for the ‘electrification’ of the Le Mans rules in the future and work towards delivering appropriate technology”.
Nissan will partner with French tyre manufacturer Michelin to design exclusive tyres for the new hybrid prototype, having previously teamed up for the development of tyres for the Deltawing project in 2012.
Testing for the ZEOD RC will start later this winter.