Two gamers will pilot the Nissan ZEOD RC into history at Le Mans

While Audi, Porsche, and Toyota prepare to battle for the overall win at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nissan is preparing an unusual combination of car and drivers that just might steal the show.

The car is the widely-publicized ZEOD RC, a dart-shaped racer with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that’s expected to complete the first full lap of Le Mans’ legendary Circuit de la Sarthe with zero emissions.

The ZEOD isn’t your average race car, and neither are its drivers. Two of the three-person team are graduates of the Nissan GT Academy, a contest that pits Gran Turismo video-game players against each other in the real world as they compete for a spot on an actual Nissan racing team.

Lucas Ordonez was the first GT Academy graduate, while Wolfgang Reip won GT Academy Europe in 2012. They’re joined by Nissan factory drive Satoshi Motoyama.

However, aside from the historical significance of an all-electric lap, the gamers-turned-racers won’t have much of a chance for glory. That’s because the ZEOD RC will be this year’s Garage 56 entry, meaning it will run the race but won’t compete for a podium spot.

Inaugurated by the Nissan-powered DeltaWing, Garage 56 is a slot in the lineup designated for experimental cars that don’t conform to Le Mans’ strict rules, but could demonstrate potentially-useful technologies.

Still, it should be interesting to see how this radical racer and its drivers fare. Check out our Countdown to Le Mans for more updates, and look for coverage from the race itself later this week.

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