Nissan has confirmed that the ZEOD RC electric machine that is due to compete in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to make its on-track debut next month in the UK.
With the carbon fibre tub for the car having been completed, a team of Nissan engineers has been worked around the clock to finish the first car and fit the twin electric engines that will be used to power it.
Spaniard Lucas Ordóñez, who was recently confirmed as test and development driver for the programme, will undergo a seat fitting next week before the initial test, which will see the car running in electric mode.
Throughout the course of the development program, Nissan will test a number of drive train options before locking in the package it will then use in next year's Le Mans 24 Hour, when the ZEOD RC will take up the Garage 56 entry in the race.
“We're at a very exciting time in the development of the car and ready to kick off what will be an extensive test programme between now and when we roll out the pit lane for the first time at Le Mans next year,” Nissan's Global Motorsport Director Darren Cox said. “Just developing a single power train option in only twelve months would be a mammoth task but we're looking to carefully examine a number of options to ascertain which will be best suited for Le Mans.
“But it is not just about what is going to be best for the race. We're developing technologies that will speed up development of road cars in the future. The Le Mans 24 Hour is the toughest endurance event in the world and by participating in the event we can really fast track the development of some of these technologies.”
As well as the entry into the Le Mans 24 Hours, Nissan is also set to try and beat the land speed record for electric vehicles set by Lord Drayson earlier this year.
“While we're aiming to reach 300km/h (186mph) under electric power at Le Mans, the Nissan ZEOD RC certainly has the capability to go faster than that in a land speed record configuration situation,” Director of Motorsport Innovation Ben Bowlby said. “At the Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans you have to have the right gear ratios installed to pull the car out of corners and chicanes. You don't have a 'flying mile' with a long run-up before you enter the timing zone for a land speed record attempt.
“But that could potentially be our next target post Le Mans. Taking the Nissan ZEOD RC to Le Mans and becoming the first car to complete the entire 8.5 mile circuit is our first target.”