Despite weighing in at just 40kg, the new powerplant packs a 400hp (298kW) punch, giving it the honour of boasting ten horsepower per kilogram; more HP/Kg than the new Formula 1 ‘power units’ being used in 2014.
Nismo is quick to point out that the new engine is essentially 298kW in something that would pass as ‘checked luggage’ with some airlines, and which fits inside the size-guide for ‘carry-on luggage’ as well.
The new power plant measures just 500mm tall, 400mm long and 200mm wide. The red-line is set at 7500 RPM, and the DIG-T R produces 380Nm of torque.
The team expects the first lap of each stint to be powered by electricity, before the three-cylinder petrol engine kicks in to take the car and driver to the end of the stint. Both units put power to the tarmac through the same five-speed gearbox.
“Our engine team has done a truly remarkable job with the internal combustion engine,” Nissan’s Global Motorsport Director, Darren Cox, said.
“Nissan will become the first major manufacturer to use a three-cylinder engine in major international motorsport. We’re aiming to maintain our position as industry leaders in focussing on downsizing. Lessons learned from the development of the engine will be seen in Nissan road cars of the future.”
The Japanese carmaker announced new partnerships with Michelin and Total for the ZEOD RC, with the latter French company providing technical support during the engine’s development and lubricants for the subsequent racing program.
The Nissan ZEOD RC hit the track for its first-ever test session last week, ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hour, due to be held over the June 14-15 weekend.