The Nissan ZEOD RC is competing at Le Mans this year in “Garage 56” an additional entry reserved for vehicles demonstrating new and innovative technology previously not seen at the race. Nissan made history at Le Mans by becoming the first manufacturer of the modern era to run a car at Circuit de la Sarthe intentionally with no rear view mirrors. The rear view mirror was actually developed through motorsport with the inaugural Indianapolis 500 winner Ray Haroun using a mirror for the first time in 1911 aboard his Marmon Wasp.
However on the test day, drivers Wolfgang Reip and Tommy Erdos made history by completing laps without the mirrors that are mandatory for every other entry in the 56-car field.
The Nissan ZEOD is equipped with a rear-facing camera. In addition, the car also has an inbuilt radar system that not only alerts the drivers about upcoming traffic, but provides further insight on closing speed through arrows on the screen. The system is able to differentiate between cars that are closing fast, or those that are staying at a similar distance behind or in fact falling back. The arrows also change color depending on closing speed.
“These driver assist systems are just another aspect of future technology transfers that will improve the road cars of the future,” said NISMO’s Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, Darren Cox. “If we have a system which can provide safe and important information at 300km/h in a high pressure situation, then we can adapt that for use in road cars.
In the event of an electrical issue where the driver assist systems cease to operate, the Nissan ZEOD RC would return to the pits and mirrors would be fitted – mounting points are already incorporated into the design.
The removal of the mirrors also helps reduce overall drag on the Nissan ZEOD RC. The entire concept of the revolutionary prototype is about efficiency of the aerodynamics, the powertrain, reduced fuel consumption, improved rolling resistance and improved battery regeneration.
Technologies developed for the Nissan ZEOD RC will also be incorporated into Nissan’s new LM P1 entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship. Announced on May 23 in London by Nissan Chief Planning Officer, Andy Palmer, the new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO will debut at next year’s opening round of the FIA WEC.