The Nissan ZEOD RC will become the first car to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans without any mirrors. Using a combination of its advanced traffic monitoring technologies, the Nissan ZEOD RC will benefit from improved rear visibility as well as increased aerodynamics.
We can see a concept similar to that of the Nissan Smart Mirror at work in the Nissan ZEOD RC Le Mans car. A rear-mounted camera delivers a wide-angle view to a large monitor in the cockpit, which works in tandem with a built-in radar system to alert the driver to approaching and passing vehicles. Approaching race cars appear alongside a dot, colored red if approaching fast and yellow if slower, while the system alerts the driver to passing cars with a large arrow to the left or right.
In keeping with its mission as a vehicle meant to demonstrate modern innovation and technology (it races in the “Garage 56” class), the Nissan ZEOD RC will also provide extensive research to help develop technologies for Nissan’s production cars.
“These driver assist systems are just another aspect of future technology transfers that will improve the road cars of the future," said Nissan NISMO brand head Darren Cox in a statement. “If we have a system which can provide safe and important information at 300km/h [186 mph] in a high pressure situation, then we can adapt that for use in road cars.”
If for some reason the camera and radar systems fail, although they never did during testing, the Nissan ZEOD RC can be fitted with traditional mirrors in the pits.
Powered by an electric drivetrain paired with a suitcase-sized, 400-hp, 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged combustion engine weighing just 88 pounds, the Nissan ZEOD RC will attempt to become the first car to ever complete a full 8.5-mile lap at Le Mans on all-electric energy. We’ve seen the Nissan ZEOD RC reach a top speed of 186 mph during previous test runs, in part thanks to its uniquely aerodynamic design inspired by the DeltaWing.
Nissan isn't actually the first to swap a mirror for a camera, as Audi has done the same with its R18 E-Tron race cars. However, the Audis still have sideviews mirrors on the front fenders of the car, meaning Nissan is the first to race Le Mans without any mirrors at all.