The Future of motorsport? Nismo RC electric race car

The Future of motorsport? Nismo RC electric race car

Electric cars haven’t really made their way into motorsport circles just yet but that doesn’t mean there’s not parties already pushing for full EV racing classes. Some are even going so far as to suggest that the technology could be used in F1 first and then filter down to lesser motosport divisions later. Western Springs speedway would certainly get much less noise complaints if it was electric-powered cars lapping the dirt oval. But before all that, the first step would be to organise the first fully electric racing class and Nissan have taken the first steps towards it.

Nissan have recently unveiled its Leaf Nismo RC (Racing Competition) concept at the New York Auto Show. The prototype racing hatchback has lost a couple of doors from the production model and nearly four inches out of its wheelbase, but it’s wider and longer with a minimal ground clearance of just 2.4 inches.

The dedicated racer also gets a full carbon fibre monocoque bodywork with removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and taillights and a driver-adjustable rear wing. Nissan says the racing special weighs just 938kg – around 40 percent lighter than the production Leaf.

Laying underneath the carbon fibre shell, the Nismo RC packs a mid-mounted lithium-ion battery and a 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 horsepower and 280Nm of torque, both shared with the production model. In the RC power is put to the rear-wheels versus the production Leaf’s front-wheel drive.

Nissan claims that its Nismo RC isn’t just a design study and the company will investigate a EV competition series in the next few years. But if the Leaf is ever to be raced, some sort of swappable battery solution will have to be created otherwise pit stops are going to be extremely slow while it recharges. Despite its go hard looks and genuine racecar engineering, Nissan says its top speed is just 150kph and its battery would likely only last about 20 minutes in competition racing. But hey, it’s a start.

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