If this car looks familiar, it should. This is the Nissan ZEOD RC (Zero Emission on Demand Racing Car), which is set to hit the track at next year's running of the legendary Le Mans 24 Hour race. The car's design team was headed by Ben Bowlby, who also worked on the groundbreaking Nissan DeltaWing, a car the ZEOD RC bears more than a passing resemblance to. The DeltaWing participated in last year's Le Mans, but crashed out early.
The ZEOD RC uses a version of the same battery pack that powers the Nissan Leaf, and can reportedly reach speeds in excess of 186 mph. Competing under the Automobile Club de I'Ouest's (ACO) "Garage 56" entry (for cars showcasing new and innovative technologies), the ZEOD RC is being run as part of a Nissan/NISMO full factory international program. Nissan teams from Japan, Europe and the U.S. are participating in the project in an effort to ensure the car and its sophisticated electric drivetrain technologies will be competitive as Nissan continues its drive to eventually field a car in the race's top- spec LMP1 category.
"Nissan has become a global leader in the development of zero emission automotive technology, and the Nissan ZEOD RC will allow us to further develop those capabilities using the toughest endurance race in the world as a mobile test bed to test the potential of our planned LMP1 power train," said Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President and Executive Committee member at Nissan Motor Company Limited.
Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn made the announcement in February of Nissan's invitation from the ACO to compete in the 2014 race. Michelin, who previously teamed up with the company on the DeltaWing project, is also on board as the tire supplier for the ZEOD RC.
Nissan will continue to test the ZEOD RC prior to Le Mans. We look forward to seeing what this extreme EV can do.