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Plug-In Cars On Racetracks: Porsche 918 Spyder, Nissan ZEOD (Video)

 

Plug-in cars are slowly gaining a foothold on the road, but what about on the track?

Porsche and Nissan have decided to show the world what these cars can do on racetracks in their respective home countries.

The plug-in hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder, which made its public debut earlier this week at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show, took a trip to Germany's infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife as part of its final testing.

In the hands of Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb, it lapped the 'Ring in a blistering 6:57, beating the previous record of 7:11.57 set by the Gumpert Apollo Sport in 2009.

This particular 918 Spyder was equipped with the optional Weissach package. It includes some weight saving measures, which remove about 100 pounds from the car's 3,715-pound curb weight, and limited aerodynamic enhancements.

The car's standard power output of 887 horsepower and 940 pound-feet of torque remained unchanged.

Sport Auto was on hand as an objective observer, and it also produced the video of the 918's record-setting run, above.

Meanwhile, in Japan, Nissan is preparing to take its ZEOD RC electric race car to the track.

It will do a few demonstration laps at the upcoming FIA Endurance Championship race at Fuji Speedway, just 90 miles from the headquarters of Nismo, Nissan's performance division.

Nissan ZEOD RC

Nissan ZEOD RC

Enlarge Photo

The ZEOD won't compete in the race itself, but it will give the public a chance to see this unusual race car in action.

Unveiled at Le Mans earlier this year, the ZEOD borrows its shape from the Nissan DeltaWing Le Mans prototype. It uses a part-electric powertrain that's partially based on that of the Leaf NISMO RC.

Like the DeltaWing, it will race at Le Mans in the "Garage 56" slot designated for experimental vehicles. Nissan hopes to have it ready for the 2014 edition of the race.

The 918 and ZEOD RC will never directly compete (one is a road car, the other a purpose-built racer), but it's still unusual to see two plug-in cars undergo track testing at nearly the same time.

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