It’s an incredible car which will race in the 24 hours of Le Mans this June: the Nissan ZEOD RC. It’s a hybrid, with extremely high performance in electric mode, but besides its unique narrow front track, it also distinguishes itself with a highly unusual gas engine. It’s a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine. We believe this will be the first time a 3-cylinder car will race in Le Mans. It’s a very compact unit, only 500mm tall x 400mm long x 200mm wide (19.68″ x 15.74″ x 7.78″). And very light, only 40 kilograms (88 pounds)! The 1.2-liter in the base Nissan Micra, which is also a 3-cylinder, is more than double that, but the most incredible might be the turbocharger.
This is seriously big turbocharger! It enables the little guy to put out 400-hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, with a rev limiter set at 7500 rpm. The Nissan ZEOD RC will drive at over 180 mph with it, and there may be some substantial turbo lag with such a big turbocharger, but in a race car with an electric motor to help, it should be manageable. Cooling might also be a problem, considering the ZEOD RC has such a small frontal area… Ultimately, there are many challenges, but there’s no doubt the engineers working on this car are lucky guys. Very few engineers are given the opportunity to work on something as exciting!