Nissan Preparing For Le Mans Assault

The Nissan ZEOD RC will make its racing debut during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (Nissan Photo)
The Nissan ZEOD RC will make its racing debut during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (Nissan Photo)
The Nissan ZEOD RC will make its racing debut during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (Nissan Photo)

LE MANS, France – The scene is set for another Le Mans 24 Hours at the Circuit de la Sarthe and Nissan will attempt to take center stage with the race debut of Nissan ZEOD RC, Nissan’s new electric racing car.

More than a quarter of the grid will be powered by Nissan in 2014, demonstrating the success of the manufacturer’s LM P2 engine. Four gamers will compete at Le Mans this weekend, two in Nissan ZEOD RC and two in the new Ligier JS P2, which is also powered by a Nissan engine.

The ACO’s Garage 56 program has provided Nissan with an opportunity to do what it does best – to innovate. Innovation is exciting but it is also painful and Nissan ZEOD RC has been a huge challenge for all involved. After an incredibly short development period, it is a proud moment for Nissan to take the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours with with the ZEOD RC.

“Garage 56 is unique in motor racing where the organisers have allowed manufacturers or private entrants to come and do something completely different,” said NISMO Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, Darren Cox. “Once again, the ACO should be applauded for that but I’ve got to tell you that it is a huge task. The car is full of innovation, from the three cylinder 400 BHP DIG-T R engine to the fact it is the first mirror-less race car of the modern era. ZEOD is a big task but it has been a crucial stepping-stone towards our LM P1 project. What we learn here provides a huge data bank for our engineers as they develop the new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO.

“Innovation is about pushing the boundaries and innovation sometimes hurts,” continued Cox. “Most of the time Nissan gets it right, whether it be the Leaf, GT-R, the Qashqai, or the Juke – lots of examples of us doing things for the first time and being innovative. This is another one; one day we’re going to bite off more than we can chew, let’s just hope it’s not on Saturday or Sunday of this week!”

Satoshi Motoyama has arrived at Le Mans from Japan after a great weekend where Nissan dominated the podium at the Autopolis round of Super GT.

“It is the fourth time for me to drive at Le Mans and I’m very happy to be able to come back here with the new challenge of Nissan ZEOD RC,” Motoyama said. “It is going to take an incredible effort from my teammates and everyone on the team to achieve our targets of recording the first ever lap of Le Mans under electric power. It is great to come here after having such a strong result in Super GT. I hope to have more great results with not only Super GT but also with the ZEOD RC this weekend.”