Fresh off of what arguably was one of the most exciting Le Mans races in recent time, a new sportscar concept that has its sticker stamped for the the 2012 installment of the race is already taking shape.
This car is the DeltaWing Concept Sportscar, a creation that was born from the collective minds of DeltaWing Racing Cars LLC and back-to-back American Le Mans Series championship winning racing team, Highcroft Racing. Described as a new and experimental race car, the DeltaWing Concept Sportscar aims to introduce a new approach to competitive racing, one that strives for increased performance through increased horsepower and aerodynamic downforce. Rather than the traditional set-up of today’s racers, the DeltaWing concept concentrates on taking advantage of efficiency gains that are found outside the parameters of standard regulations to reduce fuel consumption without cutting down on performance performance.
Hit the jump for more details on the DeltaWing Concept Sportscar.
Exterior and Interior
The DeltaWing Concept features a slender nose with a narrow front track, giving it a more streamlined build to help minimize the power that other traditional racers require to push them around the Le Mans 8.5-mile circuit. The car also has a contoured underbody that bodes extremely well for generating downforce, thus getting rid of any traditional wings other racers might need for the same purpose. It weighs only 475 kg, which is extremely light even given the circumstances. It’s got a wheelbase of 2.9 meters, a front track of 0.6 meters, a rear track of 1.7 meters, carbon brake discs and pads, a lightweight composite chassis, a weight distribution of 27.5/72.5 for the front/rear, a pair of 4.0/23.0 R15 front tires, and a pair of 12.5/24.5 R15 tires. Inside, the driver position, as well as the restraint layout and energy absorbing structures, are all designed to meet the latest occupant survivial criteria.
“The secret to the DeltaWing car is simplicity and efficiency," said Ben Bowlby, DeltaWing Racing Cars’ Chief Technology Officer.
“To achieve the dramatically reduced carbon footprint we have looked at ways to reduce weight and drag, as well as the total number of components required to build the car."
The DeltaWing Concept Sportscar is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, liquid intercooled turbocharged engine weighing only 70kg while producing an output of 300 horsepower at 8,000 rpm with a fuel cell capacity of 40 liters. The engine is then mated to a five-speed plus reverse longitudinal transmission with an electrical sequential paddle shift. The 300-horsepower output is significantly lower than any of its Le Mans peers, but the team’s target has always been to build a car with less horsepower while also cutting down on the aerodynamic drag experienced by other racers. The car also comes with a rear-wheel drive that’s coupled with the rearward weight and aerodynamic distributions, one that significantly increases inline acceleration capability.
The Deltawing Concept also features a locking propensity of the un-laden front wheel at corner entry that decreases significantly due to a lack of the front lateral load transfer. The narrow track & wide rear track layout also allow for an almost non-existent steered wheel “scrub drag,” thus increasing tire utilization and reducing mid turn understeer.
Where Can We See It?
Technically speaking, the DeltaWing Concept Sportscar will take the 56th place on the 2012 grid, which is reserved exclusively for a technologically innovative car that will showcase new applications and unique technologies that have never been seen or used in the history of Le Mans. As such, the car has been given the designation of racing "outside the classifications."
The DeltaWing Concept Sportscar won’t be directly competing against the likes of the Audi R18 and the Peugeot 908 because as the 56th car on the 2012 grid, it will simply be a showcase car to determine its feasibility and the possibility of it entering future production.
That being said, it should still be interesting to see if the car has the technology, the horses, and not to mention, the endurance, to make an impression on everyone participating at Le Mans next year.
While everyone’s eyes will be on how the front-runners are going to top this year’s dramatic race, an extra set of attention should nonetheless be given to the DeltaWing Concept Sportscar.
Aerodynamically, it looks like the rocket car we all grew up fantasizing about
Innovative emphasis on aerodynamics should open some eyes
Lighter means faster
Powertrain could have been more powerful
Nothing is certain yet
It’s still a concept waiting for its production green light