As the countdown to the race debut for the Nissan ZEOD RC at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours draws closer, the testing schedule for the revolutionary electric prototype has switched into high gear.
The Nissan ZEOD RC recently completed a multi-day test at Snetterton in the UK and will soon conduct its first European test at the Paul Ricard circuit in the South of France this month.
Nissan GT Academy winner Wolfgang Reip was behind the wheel at the recent Snetterton test and he will be joined by fellow Academy alumni Lucas Ordóñez at Paul Ricard.
“Testing is probably one of the most important processes of all the development of the car because it’s only when you test that you see the result of all your work and that you see what you need to improve,” Reip said.
“To really see if the car is reliable there is nothing better than a proper track test. A good test day is where you learn a lot and have the least amount of issues as possible.
“With all the information that the team get here it’s extremely useful to work afterwards at the workshop, to study the data, to improve what we need to change – all that information is extremely important.
“It’s completely different to the previous tests I have done so far in my career because everything is new. The main target is to make everything work together. On a normal test day you just focus mainly on your driving and what you need to improve behind the wheel. Here you need to really focus on what you feel about the car, it’s completely different for me – a new experience.’
Testing for the Nissan ZEOD RC has continued on two fronts. While Reip was behind the wheel at Snetterton testing the remarkable 40kg/400 horsepower Nissan ZEOD RC DIG-T R internal combustion engine, the car’s electric power plant was being pushed through its paces at the same time using a rolling road dynometer and a secondary chassis.
The Nissan ZEOD RC will occupy “Garage 56” at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. The car will become the first car to complete a lap of Le Mans on pure electric power. The car will complete one electric lap per fuel stint in the French endurance classic.
“Garage 56” is an additional grid slot reserved at Le Mans for cars showcasing new and innovative technology. Nissan plans to incorporate lessons learned from the “Garage 56” program into its planned LM P1 class assault.
“You really need to be focused on everything you feel about the car to afterwards explain to the engineer because it’s new for them, it’s new for the driver. So developing a car like the Nissan ZEOD RC is really different from traditional testing,” Reip said.
“For the team it’s definitely a huge challenge, because there are so many things to do in such a short period of time. Testing has gone well and everything will be ready for Le Mans – I’m really looking forward to it.”