History was made at the 24 Hours of Le Mans when the Nissan ZEOD RC* completed a full all-electric lap of the legendary 13.6-kilometer circuit during qualifying on Sunday morning, at speeds matching GT category cars. Earlier, during the Thursday night practice, the prototype developed in technical partnership with Total garnered attention when it clocked 300 kilometers an hour without using a drop of gasoline. The ambitious targets set by Nissan were more than met. Unfortunately, the car later had to retire from the race due to transmission problems.
The Nissan ZEOD RC* was competing outside the official categories, under the experimental “Garage 56” concept dedicated to innovation, R&D and prototypes. Total came at it from a different angle than in our other motor racing partnerships, taking innovation up another notch. The products we supplied for the Nissan ZEOD RC were custom-made, drawing on our motorsports expertise. The engine oil was adapted to the potent (400 horsepower) thermal engine, which innovated in terms of its small size (3 cylinders, 1.5 liters) and lightness (40 kilograms), performing on a par with current F1 engines. And the battery fluid not only ensured the part’s reliability, but also boosted engine performance. The technological breakthrough involved can be applied in other races, too.
“The lessons learned from the electric powertrains and the battery technology will help us to improve the cars of tomorrow,” emphasized Darren Cox, Nissan’s Director, of Global Motorsports. That perfectly sums up Total’s objectives for this type of partnership: to develop and test innovative technologies to improve fuel efficiency for the benefit of all.
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