First Look: Nissan Leaf Nismo RC

The Motorsports world hasn’t been immune to the trend toward creating more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly vehicles, and now with the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC set to hit its stand at the 2011 New York auto show, Nissan is showcasing its vision of an EV-only race car.

The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC is 3.9-inches shorter, 0.8-inches longer, 6.7-inches wider and a whopping 13.8-inches lower than the garden-variety 2011 Nissan Leaf, with a ground clearance is just 2.4-inches.

Underneath the Leaf RC’s carbon fiber body resides a monocoque set inside a custom chassis built by Nismo, Nissan’s in-house performance division, in conjunction with Nissan’s Global Design Center. For ideal weight distribution, Leaf RC’s 80 kW AC synchronous motor, lithium ion batteries, and inverter are mounted mid-ship.

Forged aluminum 18-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone slicks attach to front and rear control-arm suspension. Rear-wheel drive replaces the production Leaf’s front-wheel drive layout. There is even an adjustable rear wing for optimum aerodynamic setup on a variety of tracks. Weighing just 2068 pounds, the RC is 40-percent lighter than the road-going Leaf.

The powertrain remains the same, however, producing 102 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Nissan says the Leaf RC can hit 60 mph in 6.85 seconds and a top speed of 93 mph. Of course, going full bore has its limits: in racing situations, the RC lasts a maximum of 20 minutes.

In being a legit track monster, there are no rear passenger doors or seats, nor is there a stereo, climate control, carpet, or any other creature comfort. Instead, a racing bucket, slim steering wheel, roll cage, and fixed Lexan windows make their way inside the Leaf RC. Its LED head and taillights have been designed to provide ample lighting during nighttime events if necessary.

That’s right, we said “events.” Rumors are suggesting Nissan’s executives are pushing to race the RC in a yet-to-be-established eco-friendly motorsport series. The “Who, What, Where” will be answered soon.

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