LE MANS, France – Nissan made history at the recent Le Mans test day by becoming the first manufacturer of the modern era to intentionally run a car at Circuit de la Sarthe with no rear view mirrors.
The rear view mirror was actually developed through inaugural Indianapolis 500 winner Ray Haroun using a mirror for the first time in 1911 aboard his Marmon Wasp.
With four different classes and dramatic closing speeds at the Le Mans 24 Hours, drivers having awareness of the surrounding traffic is imperative. Nissan has taken inspiration from its Nissan Safety Shield and Nissan Smart Mirror for the road to develop systems aboard the revolutionary Nissan ZEOD RC.
The electric prototype is already set to break new ground by becoming the first car at Le Mans to complete an entire 8.5 mile lap of the Circuit da la Sarthe on nothing but electric power.
But on the test day, drivers Wolfgang Reip and Tommy Erdos made history by completing laps without the mirrors that are mandatory for every other entry in the 56-car field.
The Nissan ZEOD is equipped with a rear-facing camera that actually provides a more comprehensive view than the mirrors. In addition, the car has an inbuilt radar system that not only alerts the drivers about upcoming traffic, but provides further insight on closing speed through large arrows on the screen.
The system is able to differentiate between cars that are closing fast, or those that are staying at a similar distance behind or falling back. The arrows also change color depending on closing speed. It will also alert the driver whether a faster LM P1 car is passing on the left or right.
The dual-systems will again be used starting tonight in France for practice and qualifying where Reip will be joined by fellow GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordóñez plus Japanese star, Satoshi Motoyama. Both were forced to miss the Le Mans test day due to a clashing Super GT race in Japan.