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.
Usually cars are just machines. You can push them as hard as you want…until now. Nissan’s new ECO Pedal pushes back. The system is designed to provide maximum fuel economy by monitoring current conditions and suggesting more fuel-efficient driving. The car decides the necessary acceleration, and if it detects too much pressure on the accelerator pedal, it will provide counter pressure in an I-don’t-think-so-Dave manner.
Nissan claims a five to ten percent improvement in fuel economy when the ECO Pedal is utilized. It wants to start using the system next year, and unlike HAL, the driver can shut off the ECO Pedal at any time.