Testing for the Nissan Zeod RC has stepped up to top gear as the race debut at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans draws ever closer.
Having recently completed a multi-day test at Snetterton, the Zeod RC will now head across the Channel for its first European test at Paul Ricard in southern France. Wolfgang Riep, Nissan GT Academy driver, was on hand at Snetterton and will also be present for testing at Paul Ricard alongside fellow Academy driver Lucas Ordonez.
“Testing is probably one of the most important processes of all the development of the car because it’s only when you test that you see the result of all your work and that you see what you need to improve,” said Riep. “To really see if the car is reliable there is nothing better than a proper track test. A good test day is where you learn a lot and have the least amount of issues as possible. With all the information that the team get here it’s extremely useful to work afterwards at the workshop, to study the data, to improve what we need to change – all that information is extremely important.”
While Riep has been testing the car’s 400hp Zeod RC DIG-T R internal combustion engine, technicians have been pushing the car’s electric power plant to its limits using a rolling road and a secondary chassis.
The Nissan Zeod RC will occupy Garage 56, an additional grid slot reserved for entries using new and innovative technology, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and will become the first car to complete a lap of Le Mans purely on electric power, completing one electric lap per fuel stint during the race.
Nissan intends to use the information gained from its Garage 56 project for its planned LMP1 assault.
“You really need to be focused on everything you feel about the car to afterwards explain to the engineer because it’s new for them, it’s new for the driver. So developing a car like the Nissan ZEOD RC is really different from traditional testing,” Reip concluded. “For the team it’s definitely a huge challenge, because there are so many things to do in such a short period of time. Testing has gone well and everything will be ready for Le Mans – I’m really looking forward to it.”