While the Nissan vs. DeltaWing lawsuit plays out in the courts, the Japanese automaker is continuing with planes to debut its ZEOD RC race car at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans in the experimental “Garage 56” class. But come 2015, rumor has it that Nissan will return to the top-tier LMP1 class with a radically different ride, setting it apart from a field dominated by turbodiesels.
The Nissan ZEOD RC is a hybrid race car, like most of the LMP1 competitors, but unlike them it can run on pure electricity alone for some time. The ZEOD RC also embraces the DeltaWing design that is so radically different from the rest of the field, but drivetrain regulations keep it from competing with the top tier LMP1 racers, like the always-winning Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro. For 2014, Nissan doesn’t have a LMP1 competitor.
But the new rules have Porsche coming back to the LMP1 class with the four-cylinder powered 919 Hybrid, and Nissan could bring something even more radical to the field. What that is remains to be seen, though 100% electric vehicle is extremely unlikely for a 24-hour endurance event. Some kind of radically-different plug-in hybrid, however, could give Nissan an advantage coming out of the corners as it shoots it ahead of those LMP1 that get only a brief electric boost while still relying on combustion engines for most of their momentum. Using a generator to power a pair of electric motors, however, would mean instant torque all of the time. But can it beat Audi’s dominating turbodiesel hybrid R18?
All eyes will be on Audi and Porsche in 2014, but Nissan is looking to make 2015 its year.
Source: Car Magazine.uk