2012 DeltaWing Nissan Le Mans racecar

The name on the side of this car is Nissan but the design is the work of Ben Bowlby. The car was conceived as a new-era Indy Car replacement for the 2012 season. In the event, IRL went with a more traditional Dallara-designed car, leaving the DeltaWing as a stillborn race car concept in search of a sponsor and a race series

At the invitation of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest the car starts Le Mans this year from Garage 56 – it is reserved for experimental cars but hasn’t seen anything quite this unusual before

The car runs outside of the usual endurance racing categories and won’t be scoring points during the race. Despite having only 300 bhp – around half that of the other cars – it is predicted to run at somewhere between LMP1 and LMP2 laps times, due to low mass and low drag. Nissan see it as a testbed for new technology and tyre partner Michelin view it in the same fashion

According to Bowlby, “Our goal was to create a car that was twice as efficient for the same speed”. It is designed to have 60% less drag and to use 50% of the fuel and, at 475 Kg with driver, it weighs around half that of an “ordinary” Le Mans car

With a super-narrow front track the car looks destined to understeer but the combination of rearward weight bias, torque-vectoring, strong downforce and a long nose giving large leverage on the centre of mass, should make the car turn as predicted. Bowlby states: “This isn’t an understeer-limited layout… It will respond to steering inputs incredibly quickly and completely” 

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  1. Pingback: Ben Bowlby Deltawing interview | Bolide

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