Car companies have used this grueling race to test components, aerodynamics and various technologies that trickle down into cars they sell in showrooms around the world.
Hybrid technology is nothing new, but constantly evolving, and Nissan hopes that they have come up with the most innovative and efficient hybrid car ever made. Called the ZEOD RC, this Zero Emissions On Demand Race Car will be the first hybrid racer able to complete an entire 13.63-km lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe on electric mode alone.
The ZEOD RC, which features a turbocharged 1.6L I4 motor, plus twin electric motors, will be able to charge its battery pack through regenerative braking. After 11 gasoline fuelled laps, the ZEOD RC would have gathered enough energy to do its 12th lap solely in electric mode, making it the first race car to do so.
Despite being a hybrid, the ZEOD RC will be plenty fast. Producing 300 hp, Nissan is confident their hybrid racer will be able to hit 300 km/h on the Mulsanne Straight.
The ZEOD RC is the latest development model stemming from the DeltaWing racing programs of 2012, although Nissan stresses that every last nut and bolt on the ZEOD RC is new.
The 2014 edition of the Le Mans 24-Hour race will be held on July 14 and 15.