Nissan DeltaWing to race at Le Mans 24 Hours & bring the Batmobile back in style [Video]
The Nissan DeltaWing is set to race at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the famous French endurance race, which takes place from June 16-17th.
However, the DeltaWing is not classified in a race class, so it will not be competing. This will just show what future race technologies might be developed down the road.
A highly-advanced and hugely-efficient Nissan engine will power the remarkable Nissan DeltaWing. It is a race-prepared 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, featuring direct gas 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 engine, which is badged DIG-T (Direct Injection Gasoline – Turbocharged), is expected to produce around 300hp. Powerful enough to give Nissan DeltaWing lap times between LMP1 and LMP2 machines at Le Mans, despite having only half the power of those conventional prototypes. It features the same technology found in Nissan road cars, such as the range-topping Nissan Juke DIG-T.
“As motor racing rulebooks have become tighter over time, racing cars look more and more similar and the technology used has had less and less relevance to road car development. Nissan DeltaWing aims to change that and we were an obvious choice to become part of the project,” said Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President of Nissan. “This announcement gives Nissan the opportunity to become part of a ground-breaking motorsport project and one which could shape the future of the sport,” he added.
Nissan was a natural partner to be invited into the DeltaWing project by the existing group of partners that includes, US-based British designer Ben Bowlby, American motorsport entrepreneur Don Panoz, the All-American Racers organization of former US Formula 1 driver Dan Gurney, Duncan Dayton’s two-time championship-winning Highcroft Racing team and Michelin Tires.
“Nissan has provided us with our first choice engine. It’s a spectacular piece. We’ve got the engine of our dreams: it’s the right weight, has the right power and it’s phenomenally efficient.” said Nissan DeltaWing concept originator and designer Ben Bowlby.
Nissan DeltaWing is unlike any other racing car currently on track. The driver sits well back in the car, almost over the rear axle and looks ahead down a long, narrow fuselage to narrow twin front tires. (The tires were specially created for the car by Michelin.) With a rear-mounted engine, the car has a strong rearward weight bias. This makes the DeltaWing highly maneuverable, while its light weight and slippery shape make it far more efficient.
With a black scheme the DeltaWing is reminiscent of the “Batmobile.” I wonder if the designers are trying to fulfill childhood fantasies of racing in a real Batmobile?
Its innovative design and forward-looking technology have encouraged the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organizers of the famous Le Mans 24 Hours, to invite the car to run in this year’s race from Garage 56. This spot in the pitlane is reserved for experimental cars. As it doesn’t conform to any existing championship regulations, Nissan DeltaWing will not be eligible to challenge for a trophy and will carry the race number ‘0’.
Dan Gurney's legendary All American Racers organization has built the DeltaWing. The new car continues the California organization’s incredible legacy as a race car constructor which has included 157 different cars built, earning major victories in Formula 1, sportscars and the Indianapolis 500.
Nissan hopes the the design and concept of the DeltaWing will work in real motorsports one day. As well they hope that they will b able to learn from this in overall research & development programs for road cars.
The first two Nissan DeltaWing drivers to be will be British Sportscar racer Marino Franchitti, who races in IndyCar, and Nissan’s reigning FIA GT1 World Champion Michael Krumm. The car will make its first public demo laps at Sebring, Florida on March 15, 2012.
If I were Krumm or Franchitti I would be thrilled I could drive a Batmobile race car and bring it back in style for a new generation!