Two-time Le Mans 24 Hours LM P2 podium finisher and inaugural Nissan PlayStation GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez has been confirmed as the first race driver for Nissan’s revolutionary ZEOD RC prototype, as it becomes the first car to complete an entire 13.6-kilometer (8.5 mile) lap of Le Mans on nothing but electrical power.

The development project is part of Nissan’s assault strategy on the LM P1 class of the Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015.

Racing in the Le Mans 24 hours, the car will combine electric motors with an incredible 1.5 liter, 3-cylinder turbo engine which produces 400 horsepower, yet weights only 40kg (88 pounds). For every tank of fuel used, the ZEOD RC will complete an additional lap on pure electric power. While being driven by petrol, the car’s battery will be recharged by regenerative braking – recycling the heat generated by the carbon brakes to produce electricity.

The car will occupy the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s “Garage 56” at this year’s Le Mans – a spot reserved for new and innovative technologies not previously seen in the French endurance classic.

“Our ratio of power per kilo is just incredible. It's even better than a Formula 1 car.

LUCAS ORDÓÑEZ: From Gamer to Glide-iator

Recently he took a class victory along with four new GT Academy graduates at the Dubai 24 Hours. Lucaz Ordóñez was previously confirmed as the test driver for the ZEOD RC project but has now earned his place in the race seat.

“Since becoming our first GT Academy winner, Lucas has demonstrated his speed and talent in a wide variety of Nissan machinery – LM P2, GT3, GT4, Super GT and even V8 Supercar – that versatility was a key part of the decision to place him as the inaugural race driver locked in for the Nissan ZEOD RC,” Nissan Global Motorsport Director, Darren Cox said.

Lucas says, “It’s a very challenging project for Nissan and for me as a racing driver, to have the first opportunity to drive an electric car at Le Mans at more than 300km/h”.

How technically challenging it is to do a full lap of 13.6 km on the wings of electricity?

Humungous, the electrical staff might say, because the batteries and the electric motors make it a very complicated project. According to Lucas, ‘this could mark the beginning of an electrical era in motor racing and a great learning platform for future electric road cars.’ The makers of ‘Leaf’ want to be the first to do this.

The 400 horsepower petrol engine that weighs only 40 kg is incredibly small – I can bring the petrol engine to Le Mans in my bag as carry-on luggage!

Q: How excited are you to be selected as the first race driver for such a significant program?

“I’d never expected to be in the Le Mans 24 Hours and now I’ve done it three times with two podiums and a pole position. I now feel like a professional racing driver and ready for this new challenge. I’m ready to succeed with electric power as well.”

So, how would it feel traveling down the Mulsanne at 300 kmph with no engine noise? Lucas Ordonez, the ‘glide-iator’ would soon be able to tell us.

Nissan ZEOD to do first electric lap at Le Mans was last modified: February 22nd, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

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