History was made this morning as the #0 Nissan ZEOD RC race car turned in the first fully electric lap of the Circuit de La Sarthe. The lap was turned in by Nissan GT Academy gradutate Wolfgang Reip, who completed the 8.5 mile lap during the warm up. The team have not released the lap time for this historic first tour.
“It is a huge thrill for me to become the first ever driver to complete an all-electric lap of Le Mans – especially since this is my debut at the race,” Reip said.
“I used electricity to originally become a racing driver through GT Academy and now I’ve used it again to achieve this tremendous goal. I’m really thrilled for the entire team and honored I got the chance to be behind the wheel when it first happened.
“I actually got held up by a GT car during the lap. I was able to get past and it was quite a strange sensation to go by on electric power.”
In addition to making the first electric lap of Le Sarthe, the Nissan ZEOD RC also claimed the title of the first electric vehicle to make it to 300km/h at Le Mans. The car is also the first race car to turn a lap at Le Mans without a single mirror. The car relies on cameras to provide all round visibility to Reip and his team mates Lucas Ordonez and Satoshi Motoyama.
“This is the only true prototype on the grid – literally the team have been testing, changing and updating the car every hour as we worked towards achieving our goals,” said Darren Cox, the boss of NISMO Global.
“Our team actually worked through the night with no sleep to try to achieve the goal in the warm-up this morning. They are in the middle of the 48 hours of Le Mans.
“Nissan is the global leader for electric vehicles for the road and we proved today that we’ll be taking the same leadership role in electric vehicles for the race track.
“The lessons learned from the development of electric drive systems and battery technology will not only improve the Nissan road car of tomorrow but will also be transferred into the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo – our new LM P1 car which will race at Le Mans next year.”
In addition to a pair of electric motors, the Nissan ZEOD RC can take its power from a revolutionary 3-cylinder 1.5l petrol engine.