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Mike Stevens | Apr 18, 2011

Nissan's LEAF electric car is still a year away from its local launch, but it's already full-steam ahead in some international markets - and now the LEAF is preparing to make its track debut.

Far from bolting on some bigger wheels and stiffer suspension, the NISMO-enhanced Nissan LEAF RC (Racing Competition, not Remote Control) is a massively modified and overhauled racer.

Most obvious is its 170mm wider carbon-fibre monocoque body, but the LEAF NISMO RC also has a 100mm shorter wheelbase, thanks to the deletion of the rear doors.

Despite the shorter distance between the axles, the racing LEAF is 20mm longer overall than the production model.

The electric racer is also a massive 350mm shorter top-to-bottom than the regular LEAF, with just 60mm between the road and the bottom of the car.

All of this leads to massive weight savings: at just 938kg, the racing LEAF is around 40 percent lighter than the roadgoing version.

Power for the NISMO-enhanced LEAF is provided by a mid-mounted lithium-ion battery pack and a AC synchronous electric motor, producing 80kW and 280Nm of torque.

The racing LEAF won't be breaking any track records, but with a 0-100km/h time of 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 150km/h, it's a good deal quicker than the regular model (tested internationally at around 10 seconds).

The LEAF NISMO is expected to appear at a number of race events this year, and Nissan is understood to be developing a racing series to support the project.

Nissan says that, in full race conditions, the LEAF NISMO should be good for about 20 minutes of driving time.

That's a short race, or some very long pit stops.

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