This article was originally published on March 22, 2012.
Japanese car-maker Nissan is to become a founding partner in the Delta Wing Le Mans project – supplying the experimental vehicle with its 1.6litre turbocharged petrol engine that will compete in the Le Mans 24hrs Race.
Its engine will provide around 300hp – expected to give the Delta Wing vehicle lap times between the LMP1 and LMP2 machines, even though it will only have half the power of those conventional racing vehicles.
The car was unveiled by DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby and Nissan Head of Brand Strategy in Europe. According to Ben Bowlby, who is the concept originator and the designer of the Delta Wing Concept, the vehicle will be competing at the same speed as cars with premium status – but will be doing so on just half the fuel.
This remarkable performance has been achieved in part thanks to halving the weight of the vehicle; and reducing its aerodynamic drag. The company hopes it will act as a showcase for the technology that could potentially influence the future of motor sport.
The driver seat is back, almost over the rear axle, while looking down a long, narrow fuselage to narrow twin front tyres that have been specially created by Michelin. It has a strong rearward weight bias, making it easy to maneuver – and it is both lightweight and has a slippery shape, which makes it more efficient.
“While the whole car is the innovation, the gearbox internals are somewhat different and may provide a little challenge,” Bowlby said. “Most other components, brakes, bearings, driveshaft, the chassis construction technique are relatively straight forward. Michelin was our first family technical partner and we have extraordinary confidence in the tires.”
The driver will sit nearly at the back, being extremely close to the rear wheels, and there is also the presence of a singular vertical wing that adds a menacing look to the Delta wing’s profile. It is there to improve efficiency and speed.
After all, it will naturally be compared to the Batmobile by most folks, considering how it has long and narrow proportions that make it look more of a futuristic top-fuel dragster that is meant to win those quarter mile races instead of tackling corners at high speeds.
Nissan hopes that the Delta wing project will be competitive while being green, where it has a Nissan 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that features direct petrol injection and a turbocharger, with many design considerations thrown into the mix to ensure it is as light as possible.
This is definitely one ride worth looking into if you happen to have plenty of dough stashed away somewhere, assuming it is available for a commercial purchase.