Nissan takes the LEAF NISMO RC to the track

The LEAF NISMO RC has been out for testing at the Sodegaura Raceway in Japan

By Staff Writer on May 23, 2011 1:33 PM

Nissan’s International Motorsports Department has been shaking down the LEAF NISMO RC – a race-prepared version of the LEAF electric road car – at the Sodegaura Raceway in Japan, proving that the car is no motor show concept.

This marks the second time that the vehicle, which was unveiled at the New York Auto Show in April this year, has been out for testing, but on this occasion the focus was assessing the car’s speed and handling.

Nissan calls the NISMO RC a “rolling laboratory for the accelerated development of EV and aerodynamic systems,” and many of the internals are shared with the road car. The internal battery and motor are exactly the same as the production model but the race car is longer and wider, has lost its rear doors and its body is constructed from lightweight carbon fibre.

The tuning gives the NISMO RC a 0-62 mph time of 6.85 seconds, around five seconds faster than the road car, and it will be able to race for about 20 minutes before running out of charge.

Nissan is also very excited by the possibilities of electric racing. Manaki Iwamoto of the company’s Motorsports Planning Department has commented that Nissan is “not only intending to replace the cars of current race formats, but we’d like to plan some kind of format that did not exist before.”

In particular, the zero emissions and significantly reduced noise of the speedster would make city, night and indoor races a realistic possibility.

A Nissan spokesperson has told the LEAF NISMO RC will be at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (30 June to 3 July) in West Sussex, so if you’d like to see it in the flesh grab yourself a ticket.

To whet your appetite, check out this video interview with Iwamoto-san, complete with footage of the car in action: