Nissan ZEOD RC At Le Mans: Over 300km/h And No Mirrors

Trevor Collett | Jun 14, 2014

Nissan’s ZEOD RC race car has continued to rewrite the record books at Le Mans, adding two feathers to its cap as the event got underway this week.

The ZEOD (Zero Emissions On Demand) RC with driver Satoshi Motoyama at the wheel realised its goal of reaching 300km/h on Le Mans’ Mulsanne Straight, setting a record as the fastest electric-powered entry.

The team has now set its sights on completing a full lap of Le Mans at race-pace on electric power only; a feat that has never been achieved in the event’s 92-year history.

Data gathered during qualifying is being analysed by the team ahead of the big race to ascertain if the record-breaking lap is a possibility.

The ZEOD uses two 110kW electric motors, along with a 400 horsepower (298kW) 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine weighing in at just 40kg.

“I drove ZEOD at Le Mans for the first time and instantly we were able to reach our target to run at more than 300km/h with electric power only,” Motoyama said.

“I was so surprised with the speed and power of electricity and it felt great. In yesterday’s session, we had some trouble with the gearbox in the first session then we had a heap of red flag periods and I didn’t get the chance to get into the car.”

During the race, the ZEOD’s drivers can switch between electric power and petrol power, with fuel economy expected to be a strong point for the team.

Nissan Nismo is also set to become the first carmaker of the modern era to compete at the famous French circuit in a car that does not require rear-view mirrors.

Mirrors are compulsory for all vehicles competing at the Le Mans 24-hour, but as the ZEOD is entered as the invitational ‘Garage 56’ the team is allowed to run the mirror-less technology during the event.

The ZEOD RC will use rear-facing cameras and radars to detect faster competitors, with flashing arrows on a display screen telling the driver the urgency with which a fellow competitor is approaching.

The system is tipped to be part of multi-class endurance racing around the world in the coming years, and was also trialled by the Fiat 500 Abarth team at this year’s Bathurst 12-Hour.

The 2014 Le Mans 24-Hour is set to begin in a matter of hours, with the Toyota TS 040 Hybrid starting the race on poll, while Australian Mark Webber’s team starts from fourth position in their Porsche 919 Hybrid.

MORE: Nissan news and reviews

Filed under: Racing, hybrid, Nissan, Technology, EV, Le Mans, rear view camera, News, motorsport, 2014, nismo, enthusiast, nissan zeod rc, trevor collett

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  • Kermit says,
    10 months ago
    Cool proof of concept, but the ZEOD is for all intents and purposes a boat anchor out there right now.
    • Steve says,
      10 months ago
      The technology can only improve from here, still early days and this is where the future lies IMO.

      I hope one day, while I'm still alive, that electric cars are the norm and this becomes ancient tech...
    • toesonthenose says,
      10 months ago
      If everyone thought that way when the combustion engine was invented, we may still be using a horse & cart...
      • Kermit says,
        10 months ago
        I'm not against the technology. Far from it. I watched the last 6 hours of Le Mans last night and loved every minutes. The ZEOD is just a proof of concept though. It races in its own class and got little to no exposure on the coverage. When Nissan move to LMP1 in 2015 we'll see how their tech compares with Toyota, Audi and Porsche.
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