They won’t hear it coming, but it will be swiftly making its way up the legendary mountain. Spectators should be on alert at this year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb so they don’t miss the Nissan Leaf silently winding its way through the twists and turns up the Colorado mountain and across the finish line.
Yes, a Leaf is entering a motorsports event. No, this isn’t the wild Nissan Leaf Nismo RC concept we’re talking about here. Instead, this is a standard production-spec Leaf, essentially unchanged from those currently being delivered to consumers in select states. The Leaf will push its electric driveline — which includes a lithium-ion battery and a 107-hp motor — to its limits as it heads into the clouds. Its appearance will remain close to stock, except the inside will be almost completely gutted to include a mandatory roll cage, racing seats, and safety harness.
The Leaf will compete in the production class for electric vehicles, with veteran off-road truck racing champion Chad Hord in the driver’s seat.
“The instant torque available from the electric motor makes the LEAF a fun car to drive and the abundance of corners on the hill climb will give Chad a chance to take advantage of that torque,” Ron Stukenberg, senior manager of marketing communications for Nissan Motorsports, said in a prepared release.
Nissan has been pushing hard to extend its zero-emissions technology into the motorsports world and believes that the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is the perfect venue to showcase the Leaf’s racing abilities.
Will Nissan’s Pike’s Peak attempt be a vindication of it’s pure-EV strategy, or will the grueling mountain run leave the Leaf short of the summit? Tune in on June 26 to find out for yourself.