The always creative and innovative minds at Nissan have unveiled the new engine for their ZEOD RC in the 24-hour of Le Mans race on June 14th. This engine called the “DIG-T R” weighs only 88lbs but produces 400hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. It will also be the first Le Mans car to make use of an electric drive system during the race.
Nissan has designed this 1.5L, three-cylinder engine to have a better power to weight ratio than most Formula 1 cars. At 40Kg, that’s 10hp for every kilogram, which is impressive to say the least. This little powerhouse can rev up to 7,500 rpm with the assistance of its modest turbocharger.
Experimental Electric Drive
The electric drive system that lets the driver manually switch between gas and electric power will be the first of its kind in the Le Mans. The car will be able to go one lap using only electric power then with the help of regenerative braking while running the engine, the batteries will recharge enough to give the car another lap. The driver will continue switching from fuel to battery throughout the race saving the team valuable time that would otherwise be used re-fuelling the vehicle.
24 hours of Le Mans
Held outside the town of Le Mans in France, it is the world’s oldest active automobile endurance race with its humble roots going back to the early 1920’s. The race is not only a test on the vehicles stability and reliability but equally on the driver’s ability that has to endure hours of high-octane stress and physical strain just to finish the race let alone win it.