Nissan has dropped from the DeltaWing program, but this doesn’t spell the end of the racecar. Rather, DeltaWing Racing Cars announced the first details of its new DeltaWing Coupe that will compete in the American Le Mans Series later this year, possibly as early as at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.
The new DeltaWing Coupe has been specially designed to comply with the new 2014 LMP1 regulations and will include a new tub and wider driver greenhouse, and, of course, its new hardtop configuration. On the coupe version, the driver will sit in the middle of the cockpit, rather than on the left- or right-hand side.
Under the hood, the coupe will receive a new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine developed by Elan Motorsports Technologies. No official specifications have been released just yet, but we are hoping to see at least the same numbers as in the previous version: 300 horsepower, a sprint from 0 to 60 mph made in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph.
The rising gas prices have been impacting all of us for many years, but the world of racing seemed almost immune to these price hikes for many years. Well, with the price of fuel teetering in the $4-per-gallon range, even racing circuits are feeling the pinch at the pump. With this pinch and racing series also wanting to become more eco-friendly, they have almost all been looking into ways to modify their cars to fit this mold.
IndyCar and F1 have been at the forefront of these changes, and these changes spawned the birth of the DeltaWing in an attempt to infiltrate IndyCar in 2003. The DeltaWing was ultimately rejected by IndyCar, but its developers didn’t stop there, as they slowly worked toward getting it a spot in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it finally achieved in 2012. The Nissan DeltaWing, unfortunately, did not finish the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but its strong start did show that it had definite potential.
Now with the DeltaWing scheduled to run in the 2013 American Le Mans Series and taking home fifth place in the 2012 Petite Le Mans, the DeltaWing and its builders are well on their way of realizing their dreams. So what makes the DeltaWing so great?
Click past the jump to read our full review and learn what makes this odd-looking racecar so special.
The NissanDeltaWing will race as a classified car in the 2013 ALMS, but a hiccup at the Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga, almost nipped those plans in the bud.
Despite scoring a very impressive time - it was only 4/10ths of a second slower than the fastest P2 car in sixth place on the time-sheet - the DeltaWing was struck violently in the left rear wheel by a Porsche GTC class car. The car scraped down the road on its side and then rolled over before suffering a heavy impact with the wall and landing back on its wheels. The impact was measured at 7Gs on the team’s telemetry system, but luckily, driver Gunnar Jeannette was not injured thanks to the car’s carbon-fiber survival-cell.
The DeltaWing suffered serious damages first from the Porsche’s hit, then from the rollover and wall hit. The good news is that, in less than 24 hours, the Nissan DeltaWing team managed to repair the car and it is now ready for Saturday’s Petit Le Mans event - the final round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series..
We all witnessed history, as the eco-friendly, 300-horsepower Nissan DeltaWing competed in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, and actually competed well until it was disabled following an accident. In that race, the DeltaWing was more of an honorary entry, running as “unclassified” and not really eligible to win even if it had crossed the finish line with the best lap time.
That is all about to change come the 2013 American Le Mans Series, as the DeltaWing will be a part of this series as a classified contender. This means that it can earn points and can theoretically win the championship title. In addition to that big news, we get another glimpse of the DeltaWing in action as it runs the 2012 Petit Le Mans race as an unclassified entrant at Road Atlanta on October 21st.
IMSA will use the DeltaWing’s performance in the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans to setup rules for this unusual craft and also to classify it properly. We’ll keep a close eye on how the DeltaWing does in Atlanta and what rules ALMS places on the Nissan-sponsored racecar.
The DeltaWing, which most people know as the “Nissan” DeltaWing, took a run at the Le Mans series and was doing well until a wreck put it out of commission. What some people may not know is the fact that the group that put together the DeltaWing were originally attempting to put it into play in the INDYCAR series. That never happened, and the rest is history.
With the Indy Lights series gaining some notoriety and its base chassis, the Dallara, getting on in age, Indy is now seeking a new manufacturer to build a base chassis to replace its aging unit. Now the entire group, less Nissan, is pitching the DeltaWing to become the successor to the Dallara. To achieve this task and even be considered for Indy Lights, the group needs to fit the DeltaWing with the required paddle shifting capability, upgraded data systems, and alternative fuel considerations.
Overall, the DeltaWing looks like it would be a shoe-in, if it can get those few requirements taken care of. However, there are five or six total entrants trying to win this spot in the Indy Light series, so the Delta Wing group needs to focus on getting the car perfect, so they can get it into the circuit.
For now, this is just another pipe dream for the DeltaWing, but so was its entrance into the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It succeeded in getting into that race, though it didn’t last for more than half of the race.
We’ll keep you updated on this race to the Indy Light series and let you know once Indy makes its final decision.
Look in any dictionary and find the word “dedication.” Next to that word, paste in a picture of Nissan Delta Wing driver, Satoshi Motoyama, as that is all of the definition you need of being dedicated to a particular craft. After being slammed in to the wall by a rookie Le Mans driver and his vehicle becoming disabled, Motoyama had two choices, give up or fix it yourself.
See, in Le Mans there is a rule against the pit crew coming out to help repair any disabling damages to a car – a ridiculous rule in our opinion – but there is no rule against the driver trying to fix said damages. So Motoyama, with his mighty Phillips screwdriver in hand, went to trying to breathe life back into his disabled experimental car, with his pit crew not too far away telling him what to do at each step.
Motoyama removed body panels, in an attempt to free the apparently stuck wheels, but that just wasn’t working. After exhausting all of the team’s ideas, Motoyama conceded to the fact that the Delta Wing was not going to finish the race. After months of testing, tuning, and more testing, this experimental rig didn’t get the opportunity to complete the race, despite a pretty successful debut, where it sat near the middle of the LMP2 class with a fastest lap of 3:42.612.
Fortunately, there were plenty of cameras available to capture Motoyama’s valiant efforts and he certainly earned the respect of his peers and us in the media with his efforts. Check out the above video to see his attempts to get the Delta Wing back on the road and you’ll see just how important this race was to the Delta Wing team.
We have a feeling that this is not the last time we see the Delta Wing. It ran very well against the LMP2 class and may have earned an even higher fastest lap position, had it not been so heavily damaged.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans has always been one of the most dangerous races in the motorsport world and on top of that, it also has the illustrious reputation as being the ultimate pinnacle of endurance racing.
Just like every other Le Mans, this year’s race was no different when it came to spectacular crashes with Anthony Davidson being involved in an incredibly-brutal incident just 5 hours into the 24 hour enduro.
After coming down at top speed along one of the track’s many straights, Davidson attempted to overtake a stunning Ferrari 458 Italia racer driven by Piergiuseppe Perrazini on the inside line around a slight right hand bend in the straight.
Unfortunately, Perrazini failed to notice Davidson coming up on his right-hand side and unknowingly side-swiped him, sending Davidson’s No. 8 Toyota TS030 flying into the air Mark Webber style, before both cars smashed into the wall.
Fortunately, both the drivers managed to escape the crash relatively uninjured, but unfortunately that wasn’t the final incident of the race.
After months of development, the sole Nissan DeltaWing competing in the event made an early departure from the race after being hit on the left side by Kazuki Nakajima and his Toyota TS030, sending the DeltaWing and its driver, Satoshi Motoyama into the oncoming wall.
For roughly two years now, the DeltaWing has been in the works and just recently it received its most major corporate sponsors in the form of Nissan and Michelin. The DeltaWing is all set to make its debut race at the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the “Garage 56” class, but before it can make that run, the car needs to be tested and said testing has just been completed.
In the DeltaWing’s inaugural run on Circuit de la Sarthe, it completed a total of 54 laps. Through those laps, the Delta Wing really showed off one of its main benefits; its ability to use tires for longer periods of time, as it almost completed all 54 laps on the same set of tires. The only time the tires were changed was when it started to rain, so the pit crew changed it into a set of rain tires.
The second benefit of the DeltaWing’s technology, its fuel efficiency, was not mentioned, but we are certain that it was far better than the other classes of cars that run in Le Mans. The fastest lap that the DeltaWing pulled off in testing was 3:47.980, which would put it right on pace with the LMP2 class – the second highest class in the race – as the fastest lap in 2011 LMP2 class ranged from 3:42.625 to 3:55.254, putting it square in the middle of the LMP2 pack. Given the fact that it requires less pit stops for fuel and tires, this experimental car just might place highly in the race, if it finishes. We know that it will definitely win its class, as it’s the only entrant in the “Garage 56” class.
This definitely makes this year’s Le Mans, which starts on June 16th, even more worth watching just to see how this experiment pans out.
Not only does the Nissan DeltaWing prototype resemble something out of batman rather than a racer which will take up a grid position at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, but it may also suggest what the future of racing could look like. Unfortunately for many motoring enthusiasts, that does include the elongated, tapered front end and the aircraft inspired hind quarters.
However, the effectiveness of this design will not be proven until after the Le Mans endurance race and despite the car being largely experimental, the guys over at Top Gear recently teamed up with English car customizer, Andy Saunders, to produce a replica of the DeltaWing concept.
Andy Saunders is no rookie when it comes to producing the weird and wacky, and his very own DeltaWing will be testament to the belief that what’s worth doing, is worth overdoing. In order to create the one-off piece of art, Saunders will search the scrap heap for components which not only resemble certain elements of the original but can also be tweaked to get the look just right.
So far, Saunders has borrowed the wheels from a Ford Mondeo, the rear axle from a Ford Escort, and has combined components from the Fiat 126 and Morris 1000 bonnet to shape the rear deck of the car.
And that list will continue to grow as the rear pod sections will be created from old Mazda MX-5 bumpers, while the “DeltaWing kick-ups on the rear” will be formed around the air intakes of Australia’s last F1 champion, Alan Jones’ 1975 Formula One racer.
It’s currently unclear what engine, drivetrain, and transmission Saunders plans to utilize for the car, but you can be sure of two things: they’ll be recycled and when finished, the Top Gear DeltaWing will be significantly heavier, less powerful, and slower than the real racer.
Nonetheless, we respect Saunders’ ambition and wish him all the best!
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.