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One of the most hallowed racetracks in the world recently got an electric shave, and not just from a weedwhacker. The Nissan Leaf NISMO RC, which debuted at the New York Auto Show a few months prior, finally got a thrashing around the Circuit de la Sarthe. It was quiet, yet not entirely unexciting.
Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares was behind the wheel of the electric race car, for an event called the “Le Mans vers le futur” that attempts to take the oxymoron out of the phrase “electric race car.”
Click the jump for the video, and skip ahead to 3:00 where things really start to get lively. And if you’re wondering, it took Tavares 22 minutes to lap the track, or about the same about of time it took Duncan Hamilton to get completely smashed on brandy Alexanders.
Don Panoz, the mastermind behind the production of hand-built exotic sportscars like the Panoz Esperante and 24 Hours of Le Mans GT2 class winning Esperante GTLM (2006), has outdone himself with this latest creation, the Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’.
Built and named to pay tribute to what Panoz considers the world’s greatest motor race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Abruzzi is both a technological marvel and a uniquely delivered ownership experience, with every one of the planned 81 examples being delivered to their European owners at the famed Circuit de La Sarthe racing circuit where the day-long mid-summer classic takes place each year.
The link to Le Mans will go deeper still, with each Abruzzi’s chassis number containing the date of the Le Mans race it was delivered on. Each delivery will also include professional driving instruction on the Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans and all service and repair work will be done at the ACO facilities at the Circuit 24 Hours Le Mans.
The uniqueness of the Abruzzi buying experience doesn’t end there. Panoz will give each new owner the VIP treatment during the 24 Hours of Le Mans race weekend including access to the ACO hospitality facilities and a parade lap of the full 8.3-mile La Sarthe circuit. There will also be a ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ reception held at the clubhouse of the famed 24 Hours golf club in the historic town of Arnage, where new Abruzzi owners can rub elbows with past Le Mans winners including Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx.
Although the Abruzzi will be road legal and available for purchase in Europe and parts of Asia, this front-engine rear-wheel drive very bespoke sports car will not be seen on North American roadways. But if you can afford one, chances are you’ve got a villa in the south of France where you can enjoy this 600-hp piece of rolling art work. And if you do buy one, you’ll have to let us know how its Recyclable Energy Absorbing Matrix System (REAMS) body works out, since its multi-layer composite construction is apparently lighter than carbon fiber and just as strong while also being dent-resistant, shatter-proof and completely recyclable.
A video interview of Don Panoz speaking about the creation of the Abruzzi ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ is available after the jump.
[Source: American Le Mans Series]