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The all-electric Nissan Leaf had a triumphant outing at Pikes Peak this past weekend, netting itself the win in the electric production class with Chad Hord behind the wheel. Even though it didn’t claim the EV record that AC Propulsion did, the Leaf proved to be a formidable production race car turning in a time of 14 minutes and 33 seconds.
As expected, the Leaf was basically stock except for some interior safety modifications and a more aggressive set of wheels and tires. A huge advantage that the all-electric Leaf had as it climbed up Pikes Peak was the fact that it suffered no power loss due to the thin air towards the summit. Traditional internal combustion engines are known to suffer as much as a 30-percent performance loss towards the top of the hill.
Nissan also had to equip their race car with a high-pitched warning beeper to caution spectators, photographers and workers that the Leaf was approaching. It must have truly been an interesting sight to see the Leaf zip by without a single sound other than that of tires squealing.
Along with the Leaf’s triumphant run up the famed Colorado summit, this past weekend’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb recorded several records, including Monster Tajima breaking the 10-minute barrier, and Jeff Zwart setting the street legal car record with an 11:07.869 in his Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
GALLERY: Pikes Peak Nissan Leaf
We’re well aware that the last Nissan you ever thought would see the track as a full-blown race car would be the all-electric Leaf, but you have to admit, the Nismo RC Leaf is one bad-ass looking piece of electric machinery. Even though Nissan has built their racing heritage on their 350Z/370Z and GT-R platform, there’s no doubting automotive manufacturers wish to push the limits in proving that hybrid and all-electric technology are viable forms of real world performance.
Nissan is no exception, teaming up with Nismo to see what the Leaf can potentially do as a race chassis while still powered by the same electric drivetrain we’re seeing on the streets now. The Nismo RC Leaf features a full carbon fiber body and three-door layout, streamlining the aerodynamics while making it a sleek-looking race car. And with any other race car out there, this Leaf receives a full widebody treatment while the drivetrain was relocated in order to improve weight balance.
The Leaf took to Sodegaura Forest Raceway for some shakedown testing and we’re loving how it looks out on the track. It’ll be interesting to see how EVs can shape the world of motorsports with zero-emissions and all.
Check out the video after the break.