3 Cylinders...400 Horsepower. Wow400 Horses in the palm of your hand! kinda.
Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus once said “To go faster, just add lightness”. A sentiment that has been adopted religiously by the automotive racing world. From the looks of the diminutive 3 cylinder engine Nissan just announced, it seems they may have achieved the epitome of lightness. Nissan says the engine will power the electric Nissan ZEOD RC set to make its racing debut at this years 24 hours of Le Mans. The engine is indeed tiny, just large enough for one person to carry in fact. But don’t count the engine out because of its size. The thing packs a wallop, 400 horsepower to be exact.
But what on earth is a 3 cylinder engine doing inside an electric race car? Nissan says despite the ZEOD RC being electric, it will only rely on its electric capabilities for one lap of each one hour stint. The rest of time, the tiny turbocharged 1.5 liter 3 cylinder will have to provide the power for the Nissan ZEOD. The craziest part about the engine isn’t just its size, or the fact that it’s the first 3 cylinder to be used for automotive racing. the craziest thing about the engine is its weight, a staggering 88 pounds. That gives the engine a power to weight ratio that trumps the V6’s that are being introduced in Formula 1 this year. Now if Nissan throws this sucker in the tiny RWD IDx, I think we would have stumbled on something magical.