Vijay Pattni17 October 2013

Nissan ZEOD racer unveiled in Japan

The future of racing? Nissan's electric car is set for Le Mans next year

Miss next year's Le Mans 24hr race at your peril. Not only is Porsche making a triumphant return - with the help of Mark Webber - but Nissan is fielding another 'Garage 56' entrant with this, the ZEOD. Think of it as Son Of DeltaWing, TG's favourite Le Mans-spec Batmobile.

We showed you a prototype a few months back, but here is the final racing version, unveiled today at the Nismo HQ - that's Nissan's motorsport arm - in Yokohama, Japan. And it looks fantastic.

As mentioned, it won't be running under the standard LMP1/LMP2/GT classes, but in the special one-off ‘Garage 56'; a showcase for vehicles with new, experimental technology.

And this ZEOD is just that. Nissan is still being coy with the proper drivetrain details, but we're told it'll run a small, lightweight turbocharged engine together with similar battery technology as found in the Nissan Leaf. Don't forget, the new 2013 Leaf uses revised batteries that are lighter than before powering a 109bhp electric motor.

It also utilizes the company's battery know-how gleaned from the Nissan Leaf Nismo racer, including recharging via regenerative braking, and the makers - including the original DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby - reckon this ZEOD will be able to lap Le Mans "faster than an LM GTE car". Woah.

Not only that, but they estimate speeds in excess of 185mph and the ability to complete an entire lap - that's 8.5 miles - on electric power alone. "Our goal for the programme is to draw back the curtain for the fans to see the innovative technology that Nissan is developing," said Darren Cox, Nissan's Global Motorsport Director.

"We could not think of a better place than the Fuji round of the WEC for the actual ZEOD RC to appear in public for the first time. We have interrupted our intense testing in the UK to fly the car to Japan for this display," he adds.

Michael Krumm will now help develop the car alongside GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez, and Bowlby is confident. "To see the car go down the Mulsanne straight at 300km/h in virtual silence will be unique," he said. "Developing the battery tech to incorporate this into a Le Mans prototype is an enormous challenge, but the lessons learnt will not only be very beneficial for the future LMP1 programme, but for other electric vehicles for the road."

Oh that's right - Nissan is priming this ZEOD racer ahead of a proper LMP1 entry in the near future. Watch this space...

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