Rumors had indicated that Nissan would unveil the next-generation Versa at the New York Auto Show this week, but no one saw this coming. Above is a lone image of what the Japanese automaker is calling the Leaf NISMO RC (Racing Competition). Yes, a Leaf race car!
Build by Nissan’s NISMO racing division the car makes use of an electric drivetrain similar to the one found in the production Leaf with a 80 kW electric motor that produces 107-hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, enabling a 0-62 mph time of 6.85 seconds.
Nissan claims it can be recharged up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes and can run for 20 minutes at a time.
With styling cues similar to the Leaf, this car is dramatically different with a new coupe design and 18-inch wheels. Plus it’s 6.7-inches wider, 0.8-inches longer and sports a 3.9-inch shorter wheelbase. Overall it sits over a foot (13.8-inches) lower than the Leaf production car.
Based on an entirely new platform made of carbon fiber, the NISMO RC weighs just 2,068 lbs – roughly 40 percent less than the road car.
“Combining the talents of NISMO, Nissan’s world renowned motorsports group, and engineers behind some of the company’s Super GT and FIA GT1 race teams, the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC will serve as a rolling laboratory for the accelerated development of EV and aerodynamic systems, as well as a platform for the development of new green motorsports series,” said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas in a statement. “Nissan LEAF owners are fully embracing this new world of zero emission technology. We believe the same potential exists in the motorsports world as well, with Nissan proud to be first on the starting grid.”
Nissan has announced it will showcase the car at several motorsports events this year and is examining the possibility of launching a NISMO RC spec series. Look for more images and details from AutoGuide’s 2011 NY Auto Show coverage here, starting Wednesday, April 20th.