Nissan Unveils New Ultra-Compact Engine Design
Nissan has developed what it claims is a “revolutionary” petrol engine to complement the electric ZEOD RC powerplant.
The Nissan ZEOD RC will become the first entry at Le Mans to complete a lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe under nothing but electric power in June. A single lap of each stint (a fuel “stint” lasts approximately one hour) will be electric powered, then the new Nissan DIG-T R 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo engine will take over.
The small engine weighs 40 kilograms (88 pounds) but produces 400hp. The base engine is only 500mm tall x 400mm long x 200mm 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, claim Nissan engineers.
Revving to 7,500rpm, the Nissan DIG-T R produces 380Nm 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.
With the entire concept of the Nissan ZEOD RC focused on downsizing and efficiency, Nissan turned to new lubricants partner Total to help develop the engine. The French lubricants manufacturer has worked closely with Nissan engineers to develop fuel and lubricants to further improve the potential of the engine.
The Nissan ZEOD RC will occupy “Garage 56” at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, an additional entry reserved by the Automobile Club de l‘Ouest for new technologies never previously seen at the classic French endurance event.
Lessons learned from the development of the racecar will also be used in the development of Nissan’s planned entry into the LM P1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015.
“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 focussing on downsizing. Lessons learned from the development of the engine will be seen in Nissan road cars of the future,” said Darren Cox, Nissan’s Global Motorsport Director.
“Friction is the enemy of horsepower and tackling that has been one of the efficiency targets we have concentrated on heavily.”
After extensive dyno testing, the Nissan ZEOD RC hit the track for the first time last week with both the electric and petrol engines in place.
Both the petrol and electric powerplants run through the same five-speed gearbox that transfers power to the ground via Michelin tyres.
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 in June.