It’s a mesmerizing process. The cone’s initial contact with the wall instantly turns the leading few inches to powder. As the car progresses forward, the cone continues to peel away layers, sending shards flying. As it’s doing so, it’s absorbing much of the impact energy of the car. Throughout the process, the carbon chassis structure remains amazingly rigid.
Despite the rather large and effective crush zone, however, it’s clear that the sudden stop puts a tremendous amount of force on the driver. The dummy seated in the cockpit will have a wicked case of whiplash tomorrow.
So why did Nissan crash the ZEOD RC in such excruciating detail? Because it had to complete certifications for the FIA’s regulations ahead of its entry in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, plying its 400-horsepower three-cylinder turbocharged engine to the limit over a full day's racing, piloted by a pair of gamers who've become real-life racers as well as one Nissan factory driver.