On the eve of the 90th anniversary running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Nissan have unveiled the car that will take up the Garage 56 entry at next year’s race.
The Ben Bowlby designed ZEOD RC (Zero Emissions On Demand Racing Car) is intended to be the fastest electric powered car, Nissan boasting capabilities of reaching 300km/h. The Garage 56 entry, announced by Nissan chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn will be used to evaluate electric drive technology looking at the potential for them to be integrated into a Nissan LMP1 for future years.
“There are multiple options we are investigating,” explain Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President and Executive Committee member at Nissan. “A Zero Emission on Demand option where the driver can switch between electric and petrol-powered drive is a future direction for road cars, so that will be tested in addition to pure electric power and other new technologies that we still have under development.”
“As no other manufacturer is using electric battery technology in endurance racing today, Nissan is innovating again and this will provide us with significant amounts of data and information to evaluate potential powertrains for future sportscar programs and allow us to continue as the leader in Zero Emissions technology on the road.”
Current battery technology is not capable of solely powering an LMP1 entry by Bowlby, who also designed the Nissan DeltaWing that raced at Le Mans in 2012, believes that the ZEOD RC is an important step in developing the technology.
“Developing a car like this provides an incredibly challenging test bed for what could be highly-effective options for road cars of the future. Throughout the next twelve months we will be testing multiple drive train options in an extensive test program,” Bowlby said. “We have many options to consider and test. The test program is part of a longer term goal of developing a system and a set of rules for this type of technology in partnership with the ACO that would be best suited to competing at the highest level of this sport.”
As well as Bowlby the project also reunites Nissan with Michelin, who provided the unique tyres for the DeltaWing project.
The ZEOD RC, unveiled in the public areas of the Le Mans paddock today, will test for the first time later this year as the first step to racing at Le Mans next season as a works Nissan/NISMO run team.
After the Nissan DeltaWing project became the first inhabitant of Garage 56 – a entry intended by race organisers the ACO to be for cars showcasing experimental and alternative technologies – the team invited to take up the entry this year, GreenGT, were forced to withdraw from the race last month.