Deltawing to race in Petit Le Mans

2012-09-18 08:29

The team behind the radical Nissan DeltaWing has declared it has “unfinished business” after being unceremoniously knocked out of the Le Mans 24 Hours in June 2012.

In October, Nissan’s dart-shaped racer will return to finish what it started albeit at the event's little brother, Petit Le Mans, in the US.

The DeltaWing was forced to retire from the French endurance race after six hours, following a crash with another car.


Japanese NISMO racing driver, Satoshi Motoyama, tried to repair the damage by the side of the Le Mans circuit for 90 minutes before having to admit defeat.

Based on fuel consumption and tyre wear data taken during more than six hours of running at Le Mans, the car was on course to achieve its goal of completing the 24 hour race using half the fuel and tyres of its fellow entrants.

Data taken from a standard LMP2 car at Le Mans indicated that it used 2350 litres of fuel and changed tyres every 482km, chewing through nine sets. While the LMP2 car had a fuel consumption level of 47 litres/100km, the DeltaWing was running at 22 litres/100km.

Due to race commitments all three of the DeltaWing’s Le Mans drivers, namely  Motoyama, Marino Franchitti and Michael Krumm, are unavailable for the prestigious US race.

Nissan's original GT academy champion, Lucas Ordonez is set to race the car at Road Atlanta, along with American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Series 2011 PC class champion Gunnar Jeannette.

Darren Cox, general manager of Nissan Europe, said: "Le Mans was a huge success for us - the car did everything we wanted it to do and more, proving that the pioneering technology we were testing in the world's most public laboratory works and is a viable option for the future sustainability of motorsport.

"I'm very proud that Lucas will get his chance in the car - the GT Academy is a major innovation in motorsport that is making the elitist sport of motor racing genuinely accessible to everyone, including those who do not have access to big budgets and sponsorship.

"We're thrilled to welcome Gunnar to the Nissan DeltaWing team. He is a former American Le Mans Series champion and knows Road Atlanta like the back of his hand so he is the perfect addition to the squad," said Cox.

The team believes that the 1609km, 10-hour ALMS race is the perfect event for the DeltaWing to not only give fans the race finish they desire, but also demonstrate its prowess on a more traditional track.

The announcement comes as it is revealed that, as part of the ALMS merger with GRAND-AM Road Racing, provision will be made for the DeltaWing within the regulations of the new championship, scheduled to start in 2014.

Nissan DeltaWing's creator, Ben Bowlby, said: "At Petit Le Mans, we will get the chance to show the US fans just how cool this car is but also the chance to prove that it works on a much tighter, twistier road course, rather than the flat-out, 300kmh, Le Mans-style racetrack.

“It's important for us to gain in lap experience, testing and driver feedback and really validate the whole concept," he said.

The Nissan Deltawing will take part in the ALMS finale at Road Atlanta on October 17-20.

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