Nissan will field the Zero Emissions On Demand Race Car (ZEOD-RC) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June with an internal combustion engine light enough to benchpress.
And that’s not even the engine’s best feature.
Size notwithstanding, this engine packs more power per kilo than a Formula 1 engine.
The incredibly small engine weighs only 40 kilograms (88 pounds) but produces an astonishing 400 horsepower. The base engine is only 500 mm tall x 400 mm long x 200 mm wide (19.68" x 15.74" x 7.78"). While the engine is technically too heavy to take as carry-on luggage on a plane, it would easily fit inside the luggage guides seen at major airports around the world.
Revving to 7,500 rpm, the Nissan DIG-T R produces 380 Nm of torque. At a ratio of 10 horsepower per kilogram, the new engine actually has a better power-to-weight ratio than the new engines to be used in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship this year.
"Our engine team has done a truly remarkable job with the internal combustion engine. We knew the electric component of the Nissan ZEOD RC was certainly going to turn heads at Le Mans, but our combined zero emission on demand electric/petrol powerplant is quite a stunning piece of engineering. Nissan will become the first major manufacturer to use a three-cylinder engine in major international motorsport. We're aiming to maintain our position as industry leaders in focusing on downsizing. Lessons learned from the development of the engine will be seen in Nissan road cars of the future.
"Our aim is to set new standards in efficiency in regards to every aspect of the car: powertrain, aerodynamics and handling. For the powertrain, we have worked closely with the team at Total to not only reduce friction inside the engine but within all components of the powertrain. Friction is the enemy of horsepower, and tackling that has been one of the efficiency targets we have concentrated on heavily," said Darren Cox, Nissan's Global Motorsport Director.
After extensive dyno testing, the Nissan ZEOD RC hit the track for the first time last week with both the electric and internal combustion engines in place. Both the gasoline and electric powerplants run through the same five-speed gearbox that transfers power to the ground via Michelin tires.
The Nissan ZEOD RC will undergo an extensive test program over the next four months prior to it making its race debut at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours on June 14-15.