Nissan to power DeltaWing at Le Mans

The innovative DeltaWing racing car that will debut at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will be powered by Nissan. The partnership was unveiled today by the manufacturer at a media launch in London.

A race-prepared 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, featuring direct petrol injection and a turbocharger, will power the Nissan DeltaWing, which is half the weight and has half the aerodynamic drag of a conventional racer.

The car was unveiled by DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby and Nissan Head of Brand Strategy in Europe, Darren Cox at today’s function which was also attended by project Managing Partner Don Panoz and Highcroft Racing’s Duncan Dayton whose team will run the car.

The DeltaWing project brings together Bowlby, Panoz, Dayton and Dan Gurney’s All American Racers organization who built the car.

Driver Marino Franchitti was also on-site along with the newly announced second driver – Nissan’s reigning FIA GT Champion, German, Michael Krumm.

The DeltaWing will have its first public outing on Thursday, March 15 at Sebring International Raceway at 12:30pm in an event hosted by project tire partner, Michelin. The famed Florida venue hosts the opening round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championship this Saturday, March 17.

18 Comments on Nissan to power DeltaWing at Le Mans

  1. A fantastic program and the way Le Mans needs to go. It may be odd looking, but I love that there is a return to researching and developing real-world technology at Le Sarthe.

    Also, what a great investment on the part of Nissan. They continue to use a small motorsport budget to great effect. This program gives them endless rhetoric about minimal energy usage and efficiency through radical design. I wish them every success and hope they are at least as fast as the GTs at Le Mans.

  2. You can get hung up over just how different this looks, but drag reduction and engine downsizing goes hand in hand with hybrid development.

    The 2014 fuel formula P1’s will be a little narrower to reduce drag and approx. 100kg’s lighter, I wouldn’t be suprised if rear wing size is also reduced with greater downforce generated under the car.

    I’d like the ACO to once again allow prototypes to run enclosed rear wheels, that was one of the defining characteristics of the fuel formula Group C era.

    A final point on the DeltaWing, hopefully it’s integrated into P1/P2 rather than becomes a class of it’s own, if it is the latter the only way to make it work would be to phase out LMPC.

  3. I worry about this car in traffic, though. With the ducking and weaving being a game of inches, it will be an incredible challenge to slice through traffic and not catch the substantially larger rear bodywork on a GT car.

  4. Eric Comas mentioned the car feels wide, the view ahead maybe narrow but it apparently doesn’t feel like you’re threading the needle. The driver leans on the tyres as in a conventional car, only all the cornering forces go through the rear tyres, there’s little weight or contact patch over the front wheels.

  5. Very interesting project – hope they can finish somewhere on the level of the LMP2 cars. Also got the point of William: I hope they didn’t care only about drag reduction during the aerodynamics development, but also about the stability in the slipstream behind bigger vehicles – otherwise this thing might be difficult to drive over 24 hours. But yes, this could really give a view towards a fuel-efficient motorracing of the future.

  6. I hope like crazy this car doesn’t get into an accident, granted its shape is for aero dynamics however, there’s nothing to crumble and absorb the impact, and really hope this car doesnt end up sideways and get t-boned and we could end up with another Zinardi or worse, to me this is the most unsafe car in the field because of how vulnerable the driver is.

  7. yes we and we have seen tubs crack/ break in rather violent accidents when there were sections of the car that could crumble THIS doesn’t have that, it’s straight to the tub then to the driver, not through a section of car, then to the tub. then to the driver. there is nothing there for driver safety

  8. The tub protects the driver, that’s why it’s the only aspect which needs to pass the crash test, F1 and Indycar tubs are half the size of the DeltaWing, with it being a two seater. Production based cars are the big worry, in GT’s, touring cars and rallying side impacts at relatively low speeds have caused big problems, rollcages don’t work as well as a carbon tub, it’s why the latest DTM and Super GT’s use them.

  9. This car just looks awful. Victim of “GREEN” enviro-politics infiltrating racing to the detriment of the sport.

  10. @Dan K, spec racing is to the detriment of the sport, outside the box thinking is what the sport needs. I also think we have to stop thinking ‘Green’ is a bad thing, in Europe at least average folk can no longer afford to fuel and tax performance cars. The DeltaWing shape maybe unconventional but lightweight chassis, small, powerful engines and hybrid power are needed on the road today to keep performance motoring relevant and accessible.

  11. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this dosent look ‘safe’ at all although I sincerely hope it puts in a good showing and not end up in the garage a lap into the race.

  12. Between this abomination and the rolling billboards we now have on P1 cars called “dorsal fins”, I’ve lost all faith in the ACO’s interest in attracting beautiful prototype cars. Le Mans has produced many of the best race car designs of all time including the Ford GT40, the Porsche 917, Ferrari 512, Porsche 956, Jaguar XJR-9 and arguably the recent Peugeot 908 and Lola Aston Martin B09/60 can be included in this list. It is truly sad to see the direction that sports racing prototypes are now taking. I am increasingly focusing my interest on the GT classes where cars still look like cars and their manufacturers still care about aesthetics and brand identity.

  13. I hear ya Roy, I am definitely not a fan either! Not of this DeltaWing car, nor of dorsal fins in any form of motorsport (the FIA seems to love them though, and sorry, but it is not there purely for safety reasons). Yes, we can appreciate the technology behind it, but that does not mean we have to actually like the race version aesthetically-speaking.

  14. Yes, It may be odd looks but uniqueness is always interesting.
    Short front suspension arm seems to be potentially problem i want to know how Highcroft handle that. Regarding Nissan supporting this NEW challenge is so nice but I hope they return to top of prototype racing rather than go to a niche world.

  15. Ridiculous or not, it’s pushing the boundaries, and in a world were we’ve seen ugly ducklings like the Panoz P1 and the various long-tail Le Mans specials become fan favourites, being odd isn’t particularly a bad thing.

    Racing cars evolve, if the authorities allow, future DeltaWing variations maybe wider, enclosed, front engined, 4wd, hybrid, all electric, who knows.

    What I get up in arms about are cars like DP’s, the authorities want to keep the cars and technology in an early 1980’s time-warp, sorry, but there’s historic racing were you can see the real thing, they also happen to be quicker than the reincarnations.

    Re. the DeltaWing, it’s been said the actual race engine will be an all new RML design for Nissan, it’s similar to a Global Racing Engine (GRE), being 1.6T, but will be smaller and lighter. These GRE’s are designed to be used in applications from junior single-seaters upto prototpes and F1, it would be the ideal basis for a 2014 P1, that could be the real long-term benefit from this project.

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