Nissan just made waves with their latest announcement about their Zero Emissions On Demand Race Car (ZEOD RC) that will be racing in this year’s 24 hours of Le Mans from the Garage 56 Technical Exhibition spot. When the car was first announced, Nissan wanted to make it a pure electric car and we took a look at the energy storage and recovery technologies that would be necessary to make that a possibility. Later during Chapter 1 of the build, Nissan had made the decision to make the car a hybrid with undisclosed powertrain details. Here is Chapter 2 of the ZEOD RC build that talks about nothing but the engine that will power the car. The new plan is to have the car run 11-12 lap stints around the Circuit de la Sarthe with one of those laps being done on pure electric power.
The rest of the laps will be powered by a 1.5 liter, 3 cylinder engine which cranks out 400 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque despite the short block weighing only 88 pounds. It seems that 2014 will be the year that many automakers and even some motorcycle companies start offering small displacement 3-cylinder engines. The engineers have come up with good solutions to balance the vibration of firing four strokes of combustion on three cylinders. More importantly, turbocharging, variable valve timing and direct injection have finally come far enough to get real world usable power out of these small engines.
Source: Nissan Newsroom
Check out this on-board footage of the a tube-frame 1974 Mazda RX-3 GT-3 race car during the Walter Mitty historic festival at Road Atlanta. The car weighs 2030 pounds with the driver and is powered by a 12a with a bridgeport and 40mm carb. As you will see, the RX-3 is seriously quick.
Source: YouTube user Jeff Dernehl
2014 is going to bring sweeping changes for the technical regulations of Formula 1 racing. Teams are moving from 2.4 liter naturally aspirated V8’s to turbocharged 1.6 liter V6’s with two electric motors. The first is the familiar crank driven mechanical energy recovery system and the second is a thermal energy recovery system where an electric motor is added between the turbine and compressor of the turbo. Ferrari’s intro video shows a “uniturbo” similar to the ones used on the Audi TDI Le Mans racers where the turbine housing has two entry passages for the opposing banks of the V6. The electric motor can act as a generator producing electrical energy from the turbine or it can work as a motor to help spool the turbo into boost efficient rpm’s. Integrating the engine so thoroughly with these new hybrid technologies calls for some new terminology. “Engine” is no longer an adequate description of the cars’ power sources. The whole system is now being referred to as a powertrain and KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is now referred to as ERS (Energy Recovery System) since it will now also be harvesting thermal energy. New rules regarding restricted fuel capacity and flow rates and better engine durability accompany the new powertrain architecture. The energy management strategies are going to play a huge role in team strategies for the upcoming season. Hopefully most of this performance hybrid technology and acceptance will trickle down into affordable street cars pretty soon.
Source: Auto Broadcast Video
Here’s a quick overview of the sweeping changes coming to Formula 1 racing next year. The biggest of these is the change in engine format from a 2.4 liter naturally aspirated V8 to a 1.6 liter turbocharged V6. We’re going to do a more in-depth look at the hybrid energy recovery system later, but basically there’s a lot more electric energy storage and there’s an electric motor built into the turbocharger that can either assist with boost or generate electric power to recharge the batteries. The KERS electric motor attached the crankshaft also carries over. There are also going to be major changes with the nose and front wing as well as the elimination of the exhaust blown rear diffuser.
Source: YouTube user MrFormulaOneExpert3
Designer Jon Sibal posted this video on his Facebook page for Throwback Thursday. It’s footage of a young Keiichi Tsuchiya racing the Advan Porshce 964 Turbo in the Sugo round of the 1994 Japanese Grand Touring Championship (JGTC). There’s a pretty eclectic mix of cars on the starting grid including a Ferrari F40, R32 Skylines, Supras and RX-7’s. I believe Tsuchiya-san is racing with his mentor who eventually became his team principal at the ARTA NSX team.
Source: YouTube user rocketpencil