Lucas Ordonez named first Nissan ZEOD RC driver

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Nissan’s electric-powered prototype, the ZEOD RC, will compete at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as the Garage 56 entrant. Unsurprisingly, veteran Nissan driver Lucas Ordóñez has been named the car’s first driver.

Ordóñez won the inaugural Nissan PlayStation GT Academy competition in 2008 and made his Le Mans 24 Hours debut in 2011. In three attempts at the famous French enduro he has twice finished on the LM P2 podium. He also took championship wins in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in LM P2 in 2011 and last year’s Blancpain Endurance Series.

Most recently he took a class victory along with four new GT Academy graduates at the Dubai 24 Hours. Ordóñez was previously confirmed as the test driver for the ZEOD RC project but has now been promoted into a race seat.

The car was announced at this year’s Le Mans, and has already enjoyed its on-track debut at Fuji last October. Nissan is using the information and research gained from the experimental entry as part of its future step up to LMP1 in 2015.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski