Nissan shows off 400 bhp 3-cylinder 1.5-liter turbo engine for its ZEOD RC racer

Nissan DIG-T R engine
Nissan DIG-T R engine

Produces 380 Nm of torque

Nissan has taken the wraps off its brand new three-cylinder, 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine which will be used in the ZEOD RC.

An updated ZEOD RC was shown by Nissan back in October 2013 and now the Japanese automaker has disclosed more information about the conventional engine. It will be an all-new 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbo gasoline engine called "DIG-T R" which produces a whopping 400 bhp (298 kW) and a peak torque of 380 Nm (280 lb-ft) and revs up to 7,500 rpm.

The motor tips the scales at just 40 kg (88 lbs) and according to Nissan offers more power per kg (10 hp / kg) than a Formula 1 engine. Aside from being very lightweight, the engine is also quite compact as it's just 400mm long, 200mm wide and 500mm tall.

Over the next four months Nissan will test the ZEOD RC so that it will be ready in time for Le Mans 24 Hours (June 14-15).

Source: Nissan
  • 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo produces 400hp
  • Weighs just 40kg; more power per kilo than a Formula 1 engine
  • New technical partnership with Total lubricants revealed

LONDON, ENGLAND, Monday, January 27, 2014: Nissan will not only break new ground with the unique electric power plant aboard the Nissan ZEOD RC at Le Mans this year, but the accompanying internal combustion engine is set to revolutionise standards of performance and efficiency.

The Nissan ZEOD RC will become the first entry at Le Mans to complete a lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe under nothing but electric power in June. A single lap of each stint (a fuel “stint” lasts approximately one hour) will be electric powered, then the new Nissan DIG-T R 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo engine will take over.

The incredibly small engine weighs only 40 kilograms (88 pounds) but produces an astonishing 400hp. The base engine is only 500mm tall x 400mm long x 200mm wide (19.68” x 15.74” x 7.78”). While the engine is technically too heavy to take as carry-on luggage on a plane – it would easily fit inside the luggage guides seen at major airports around the world.

Revving to 7,500rpm, the Nissan DIG-T R produces 380Nm of torque.  At a ratio of 10 horsepower per kilogram the new engine actually has a better power-to-weight ratio than the new engines to be used in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship this year.

With the entire concept of the Nissan ZEOD RC focussing heavily on downsizing and efficiency, Nissan turned to new lubricants partner Total to help develop the engine. The French lubricants manufacturer has worked closely with Nissan engineers to develop fuel and lubricants to maximise the potential of the engine.

The Nissan ZEOD RC will occupy “Garage 56” at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, an additional entry reserved by the Automobile Club de l‘Ouest for new and ground-breaking technologies never previously seen at the classic French endurance event.

Lessons learned from the development of the revolutionary racecar will also be used in the development of Nissan’s planned entry into the LM P1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015.

“Our engine team has done a truly remarkable job with the internal combustion engine,” said Darren Cox, Nissan’s Global Motorsport Director.

“We knew the electric component of the Nissan ZEOD RC was certainly going to turn heads at Le Mans but our combined zero emission on-demand electric/petrol power plant is quite a stunning piece of engineering.

“Nissan will become the first major manufacturer to use a three-cylinder engine in major international motorsport. We’re aiming to maintain our position as industry leaders in focussing on downsizing. Lessons learned from the development of the engine will be seen in Nissan road cars of the future.

“Our aim is to set new standards in efficiency in regards to every aspect of the car – powertrain, aerodynamics and handling.  For the powertrain we have worked closely with the team at Total to not only reduce friction inside the engine, but within all components of the powertrain.

“Friction is the enemy of horsepower and tackling that has been one of the efficiency targets we have concentrated on heavily.”

After extensive dyno testing, the Nissan ZEOD RC hit the track for the first time last week with both the electric and internal combustion engines in place.

Both the petrol and electric powerplants run through the same five-speed gearbox that transfers power to the ground via Michelin tyres.

“Being chosen by a car manufacturer as a technological partner to achieve a demonstration of innovation, is always a source of pride, especially on this legendary race - 24 Hours of Le Mans. It drives our researchers to find solutions and get the most out of the technical specifications as well as the fuel economy properties that our TOTAL QUARTZ lubricants range provides to all passenger cars,” said Philippe Girard, Scientific Delegate for Total.

The Nissan ZEOD RC will undergo an extensive test program over the next four months prior to it making its race debut at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours on June 14-15.

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Comments (18)

ArrieSwanepoel ArrieSwanepoel
If they did not change the F1 rules away from the 1500cc turbo motors we would have had motors like this 10 years ago all ready running in our road cars.
Feb 26th, 2014 8:36am
0 0
I'd now like to see the 800hp, 3.0 V6 with 760Nm of torque!! :-))
Jan 31st, 2014 6:13pm
0 0
Let's put this in Opel Adam and call it OPC...
Jan 29th, 2014 4:18pm
1 1
DavidFlynn DavidFlynn
haha :D
Jan 30th, 2014 1:59am
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render render
Did anybody noticed that the photo with the guy holding the engine is a PHOTOSHOP or not? Check the shadows of the motor, and his "untouched" coat, and don't be impressed so easily.
Jan 29th, 2014 9:05am
0 0
mariosgti mariosgti
you are right,but there seems to be pressure on his fingers
Jan 29th, 2014 9:39pm
0 0
render render
Yes my friend, you are absolutely right, but I think that it's not the "right" pressure. I mean that it is easy for any good graphic designer to remove from the picture the original object that was put on his hands so that the pressure would look right, and add the engine. Anyway, the engine is impressive for sure, it's just the specific picture that fooled everybody!
Jan 31st, 2014 11:30pm
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Axden Axden
Just the thing is, 400 used to be V8 hp country, awesome that a 3 cylinder turbo is to where it is, hopefully this will be in something that's sporty and quick
Jan 29th, 2014 4:58am
0 0
miguelius miguelius
Very impressive and the design looks neat. Note the integrated exhaust manifold feeding directly to the turbo. Now if they could just put one in a small, light sports car . . .
Jan 28th, 2014 9:45am
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taliz taliz
Not that impressive. There are plenty of turbo charged Hayabusas out there with 400+ HP.
Jan 28th, 2014 2:09am
0 3
Homerlovesbeer Homerlovesbeer
AND 380Nm torque?
Jan 28th, 2014 7:30am
2 0
jerry05cod4 jerry05cod4
you need a dose of this youtube... /watch?v=KpUNA2nutbk smh
Jan 28th, 2014 7:35am
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JaapIndeBetouw JaapIndeBetouw
would they last for 24 hours of racing? probably not.. would they make as much horsepower with a le mans air restrictor? Most definitely not! would they deliver that much power at 7500 rpm? not even close!
Jan 29th, 2014 1:31am
3 0
sensei sensei
What? Der ain't nuh replacement fer displacement son.
Jan 28th, 2014 2:04am
0 0
Homerlovesbeer Homerlovesbeer
Woot.......throw this into the Renaultsport Clio RS200.....what a weapon!
Jan 27th, 2014 11:11pm
4 0
TimothyHunold TimothyHunold
But where is all the power? It is relatively low revving, but if it does not make much power until the last 500 of the 7500rpm, it will be great for racing but relatively useless in a street car. Just curious because it is as impressive as a turbo'd 'busa motor.
Jan 27th, 2014 11:10pm
0 0
memexe memexe
Nice! Now bring this tech to road going cars!
Jan 27th, 2014 6:29pm
5 0
DrPlacebo DrPlacebo
The first thing that snapped in my head when I saw this article was, "This certainly would fit in an Ariel Atom…"
Jan 27th, 2014 6:29pm
7 0