Nissan’s 395bhp 1.5-litre Le Mans engine revealed

28 Jan, 2014 9:30am Jonathan Burn

The Nissan ZEOD RC will be the world’s first Le Mans racer fitted with a three-cylinder engine

Nissan has revealed first technical details of the hybrid powertrain that will be fitted to the forthcoming Nissan ZEOD RC Le Mans racer. The downsized 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine develops 395bhp and weighs just 40kg.

The Japanese manufacturer states the ZEOD RC will become the first ever car at Le Mans to complete a lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe under nothing but electric power. The 395bhp engine will take over from the electric motors once the car has completed a single lap of each driver stint. The batteries are recharged through regenerative braking, and Nissan claims it will take around 11 laps of the 8.47-mile track before they are fully recharged.

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Weighing just 40kg, the engine has a better power-to-weight ratio – 10bhp/kg – than the 1.6-litre turbo engines to be used in the 2014 Formula 1 Championship. The rev limit of the ZEOD RC’s engine is 7,500rpm, with 380Nm of torque produced. The development of the Le Mans racer and engine will also influence Nissan’s entry into the LM P1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015.

“Our engine team has done a truly remarkable job with the internal combustion engine,” said Darren Cox, Nissan’s Global Motorsport Director. “We’re aiming to maintain our position as industry leaders in focusing on downsizing. Lessons learned from the development of the engine will be seen in Nissan road cars of the future.”

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Imagine this engine in a Micra! :-)

Drawing 395 horses from a 3-cylinder 1.5L engine is the height of engineering. And while I'm no great fan of turbo-charged units (mainly due to reliability concerns) yet turbo seems to be the way forward in our struggle to drop emissions. This engine won't be out of place in the new Z cars.

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