Lucas Ordóñez was the first winner of the Gran Turismo Academy racing competition. Today, he just took the first all-electric lap at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Let that sink in.
In 2009, Ordóñez beat out 25,000 other competitors to snag a seat with Nissan in the European GT4 series. He took a podium at his first race and tied for second overall that season. Two years later, his team came in second in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Today, he ran the Nissan ZEOD RC the entire 8.5 miles of the Circuit de la Sarthe, with two 110 kW electric motors spinning at 40,000 rpm behind him. Twenty-four minutes later it was being pushed by race marshals on the side of the track. That's not how anybody wanted it to go down (well, at least one person).
Nissan hasn't provided a detailed explanation beyond "gearbox failure". But with both electric motors and a gas engine on board, it's anyone's guess.
The ZEOD RC isn't really an EV, but a plug-in hybrid. It has just enough energy to do one practice lap before the batteries are drained and the 400-hp 1.5-liter 3-cylinder kicks in.
But it's still a step. And Nissan is already committed to coming back in 2016.