It probably depends on the card. I've worked with Dell servers & add-in RAID cards, where you press a certain key during POST and before the OS loads, to get into the BIOS of the raid card.
If the drive mirrors the specs, you should be safe. Do you have the model number of the failed drive to verify it? Personally, I'd also grab a slightly larger IDE drive in this case, if you don't want to have to risk not having the right thing.
The controller should be able to initialize/format the drive, and join it to the array. Don't think you have to zero write it.