As a specially invited car, the DeltaWing may not be able to win the Le Mans 24 Hours this year, but it is certainly out to win friends, admirers and respect at this year’s race. Potentially it could even influence the shape of endurance racing.
Described as the most revolutionary car to appear in motorsport for a generation – the Nissan DeltaWing – spearheads the Japanese manufacturer’s dominant entry to the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June 2012.
It features half the weight, half the horsepower and half the aerodynamic drag of a conventional Le Mans machines meaning it uses half the fuel of its competitors.
So just what is so innovative about the DeltaWing?
The car looks very different, of course, but it is in the statistics that the car’s goals become clear. The DeltaWing is half the weight of a conventional Le Mans prototype. It generates half the normal amount of wind resistance or drag as well. It is predicted that it will only use half the amount of tyres during the race and that the DeltaWing will use half the amount of fuel whilst still staying competitive in pace. A pace generated by half the usual amount of power provided by a direct injection 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol engine.
Nissan DeltaWing looks radically different to any other racing car. The driver sits well back, almost over the rear axle and looks ahead down a long, narrow fuselage to narrow twin front tyres – each just four inches (10cm) wide, specially created for the car by tyre partner Michelin. All parts, including its Nissan 1.6-litre DIG-Turbo engine – are smaller and weigh much less than traditional Le Mans machines.
The car is so unique that it will compete in the race outside the regulations of Le Mans, wearing the number ‘0’ and running from “Garage 56”, reserved exclusively for experimental racers. On 3rd June, the DeltaWing completed its first running on the famous 8.5 mile Circuit de la Sarthe, completing 54 laps with drivers Michael Krumm, Satoshi Motoyama and Marino Franchitti at the wheel.
The Nissan DeltaWing technical, team led by concept originator Ben Bowlby, believe they are comfortably within reach of their target pace of 3 minutes, 45 seconds as requested by race officials.
“Green” race technologies are fast becoming the main topic of conversation in endurance racing. In this year’s 24 hours we will see the introduction of LMP1 Hybrid cars from both Audi & Toyota. However, it is the aim of the DeltaWing approach to car design that hopes to prolong the life of the humble petrol engine. You will be the first to see.
Total weight: 475Kg.
Horsepower: 300 BHP
Wheel base: 2.90m
Aerodynamic drag: Cd 0.24
Front track: 0.6m
Rear track: 1.7m
Length 4.65m Width 2.00m Height 1.03m
Brakes: Carbon discs and pads
Fuel cell capacity 40 litres
Chassis construction: lightweight composite
Front tire: 4.0/23.0 R15
Rear tire: 12.5/24.5 R15
Weight distribution: 27.5% Front (72.5% Rear)