The Nissan LEAF Nismo RC took a few laps at the Goodwood racetrack and proving ground in southern England.
When did the first auto race take place? Surely around the time the second automobile was built. EVs whizzed past another milestone on the road to automotive acceptance as a race car based on the Nissan Leaf took a few laps at the Goodwood racetrack and proving ground in southern England.
The Leaf Nismo RC (Racing Competition), built by Nissan’s racing organization, has the same drivetrain as Grandma’s Leaf, but beyond that, it’s a green speed demon. It features rear-wheel drive, a carbon fiber body and chassis, and an adjustable rear spoiler. The RC is longer and lower, and weighs 40 percent less than the showroom model. It has a top speed of 93 mph, accelerates 0-62 in 6.85 seconds, and should run for about 20 minutes at racing speeds.
One of the most remarkable things the drivers learned was how much they rely on engine noise to judge how to negotiate curves. With the Leaf, there’s no shifting, and no roaring engine to reinforce the sensation of acceleration or deceleration.
While I wouldn’t expect to see an EV in the winner’s circle at Daytona any time soon, the lessons learned driving the Leaf Nismo RC on the racetrack should help to improve the performance of its mundane cousin on the daily commute.
“Conventionally powered cars are being improved incrementally. With EVs we’re still at the stage where we can make big leaps and a race program will accelerate that trend. In terms of safety, performance and battery longevity, this car will teach us many things,” said Mamoru Shinshi, the RC’s chief engine engineer.