At Le Mans on Friday, Nissan unveiled the experimental electric machine that will contest next year's Le Mans 24 Hours.
The "ZEOD RC" (short for Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) has been designed by DeltaWing creator Ben Bowlby, and will use the same lithium battery technology as the Leaf road car and will take the "Garage 56" slot for experimental vehicles in 2014. Nissan plans to use the car, which is not fully electric, as a testbed for several new technologies that could be incorporated into an all-electric LMP1 machine in the future.
"The ZEOD RC program is designed to develop multiple technologies to evaluate how they could be used for a future LMP1 class return of Nissan at the Le Mans 24 Hours," said Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer. "There are multiple options we are investigating.
"A zero-emission on-demand option where the driver can switch between electric and [gasoline]-powered drive is a future direction for road cars, so that will be tested in addition to pure electric power and other new technologies that we still have under development.
"As no other manufacturer is using electric battery technology in endurance racing today, Nissan is innovating again. This will provide us with significant amounts of data and information to evaluate potential powertrains for future sports car programs and allow us to continue as the leader in zero-emissions technology on the road."
The car, which will use Michelin tires, is due to begin testing later this summer. Bowlby said that a variety of different drivetrain options would be tried during the testing program in a bid to find the most efficient way of powering the car next year.
"We have many options to consider and test," he said. "The test program is part of a longer-term goal of developing a system and a set of rules for this type of technology in partnership with the Le Mans organizer, the ACO, that would be best suited to competing at the highest level of this sport."