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Nissan Unveils Electric Racer for Le Mans 2014

Greg Emmerson
Jun 21, 2013
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Using the same lithium battery technology as the Nissan Leaf, and capable of speeds in excess of 180mph, the zero emission Nissan ZEOD RC will be used to develop electric drivetrain technology, which will then race in 2014 Le Mans 24 Hour in the LM P1 prototype class.

Making the announcement ahead of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hour, Nissan will debut the car at next year's race.

Nissan_zeod_rc_le_mans_3 Photo 1/11   |   Nissan Zeod Rc Le Mans 3

The name ZEOD RC stands for Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car and will see the Japanese company return to LM P1 competition in the world's most prestigious endurance race.

Nissan's invitation from the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) to compete in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours was announced by Nissan Chairman and CEO, Carlos Ghosn in Japan in February. The car will compete under the ACO's 'Garage 56' entry - an additional spot on the grid for vehicles that showcase new and innovative technology.

Run as an international full factory Nissan/Nismo program, it will have input from Japan, Europe and the US, with the design team headed by Ben Bowlby who was recently appointed as Nissan's Director of Motorsport Innovation, having previously worked on the Nissan DeltaWing program in 2012.

Nissan_zeod_rc_le_mans_12 Photo 2/11   |   Nissan Zeod Rc Le Mans 12

The ZEOD RC program will test multiple options, including a Zero Emission on Demand option, where the driver can switch between electric and gasoline- powered drive that will be tested in addition to pure electric power and other technologies under development.

While current battery technology does not provide the energy storage capacity to race a solely electric Le Mans prototype, Nissan ZEOD RC designer Ben Bowlby believes the development of the car will be an important step in the electrification of future racecars.

Nissan will partner with Michelin to produce tires for the new prototype since they have an enviable record at the Le Mans 24 Hour, winning the past 15 consecutive races overall.

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By Greg Emmerson
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