Two-time Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 podium finisher and inaugural Nissan PlayStation GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez chats following official confirmation he will drive Nissan's revolutionary ZEOD RC prototype at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours...

Q:
Lucas, what will it be like to drive the ZEOD RC at Le Mans?

Lucas Ordonez:
I'm really looking forward to it. It's a very challenging project for Nissan and for me as a racing driver, to have the first opportunity to drive an electric car at Le Mans at more than 300km/h. I can't wait to begin testing and get in the car at Le Mans and do those special laps under electric power.

Q:
How interesting do you find the development process for a car like this?

Lucas Ordonez:
The development process is really complex. Nobody has done something this technologically challenging with electric vehicles before. Completing an entire lap of Le Mans on nothing but electric power is an incredible groundbreaking challenge. I've been in the workshop back in the UK with all of the ZEOD engineers and mechanics. You can feel how much effort they're putting on this project. It will huge for Nissan. It's very complicated to put a petrol engine and electrical motors into the same car and be able to switch between the two. The 400 horsepower petrol engine that weighs only 40 kg is incredibly small - I can bring the petrol engine to Le Mans in my bag as carry-on luggage! Our ratio of power per kilo is just incredible. It's even better than a F1 car. It's a big challenge but that is the type of challenging project that Nissan thrives on - they don't choose the easy path.

Q:
What it's going to be like to travel down the Mulsanne at 300 km/h with no engine noise?

Lucas Ordonez:
It's going to unique and strange. I'm used to driving down the Mulsanne Straight between the trees at more than 300 km/h but with a lot of noise from the Nissan LMP2 engine. This time it's going to be silent. It's going to be exciting and something different. Obviously I can't wait to feel that for the first time. It will be such a unique experience.

Q:
How big of a technical challenge is it to do a full 13.6 kilometres on just electricity?

Lucas Ordonez:
It's a huge technical development. The ZEOD guys have been working really hard to bring this to fruition. If you ask the electrical staff, the batteries and the electric motors make it a very complicated project. It's the beginning of something big and the start of the electrical era in motor racing and a great learning platform for future electric road cars. Nissan wants to be the first to do this kind of big challenge. It's going to be a tough development process but the engineers and team are very professional. Everyone will be amazed at what Nissan can do in terms of electrical power.

Q:
Will it be a big learning experience with all of the different controls in the cockpit?

Lucas Ordonez:
It's interesting. For me as a racing driver obviously there's going to be new buttons for me in the steering wheel, such as the switch to transform from petrol power to electrical power. At the moment, we are in the learning process but we'll soon start with proper testing and we will learn all about that and show all of the fans how the ZEOD RC works and cool it is to drive.

Q:
How excited are you to be selected as the first race driver for such a significant programme?

Lucas Ordonez:
For me, it's a big responsibility. To be one of the drivers for the ZEOD RC, the first electric car that will go over 300k/h at Le Mans, it's going to be a big challenge for me. But I like to work that way. I know all of the big bosses and important people of motorsport will be watching this project and I feel really lucky and proud to be a part of it. Hopefully we can succeed together at Le Mans. Six years ago I won GT Academy. I was a normal student. It's crazy to think how far I've come in six years. I'm now going to drive the most revolutionary and challenging car seen at Le Mans in many years. I'd never expected to be in the Le Mans 24 Hours and now I've done it three times with two podiums and a pole position. As a professional driver I am ready for this new challenge. I'm ready to succeed with electric power as well.

 

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