Nissan has announced that its new ZEOD RC Le Mans racer will be powered by an engine small enough to fit in an overhead locker on any commercial airline.
The ultra-compact 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo is just 500mm tall and 400mm long. The 400bhp direct-injection unit, known as the Nissan DIG-T R (right), tips the scales at 40kg.
Nissan global motor sport director Darren Cox said: “Downsizing is very important in the automotive industry; we already have three-cylinder engines in our range and there are more coming.
“It is the first time that this configuration will have been used at the top level of motor sport, but that is because we are pushing the boundaries in terms of light weight.”
The engine ran in the ZEOD RC, which takes the ‘Garage 56’ Le Mans grid spot reserved for experimental machinery, for the first time at the Bruntingthorpe proving ground at the end of January. It will power the car for all but the final lap of each stint, when the electric element of the ZEOD powerplant will take over and run on energy harvested by its hybrid system.
Spaniard Lucas Ordoñez, the first winner of the Nissan GT Academy, has been confirmed as one of the ZEOD’s drivers at Le Mans.