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Nissan backs DeltaWing experimental racer; competing at Le Mans with half the fuel

Nissan DeltaWing. Click to enlarge.

Nissan is becoming a founding partner in DeltaWing Le Mans project (earlier post) and will provide an advanced and efficient Nissan 1.6-liter, turbocharged gasoline direct injection engine to power the DeltaWing car as it races at the Le Mans 24 Hours (16-17 June).

The engine, badged DIG-T (Direct Injection Gasoline - Turbocharged), is expected to produce around 300 hp (224 kW), sufficient 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.

Basically, we’re going to be competing at the same speed as the premier status cars, but we’re going to be doing it on half the fuel. We’ve done that by halving the weight and halving the aerodynamic drag whilst also being able therefore to halve the power. And his gives us the efficiency step. Basically, we’re able to use a 1.6 liter DIG-T turbo engine from Nissan...and this is really an extraordinary step and I think that it will shake the world actually.

—Ben Bowlby, DeltaWing concept originator and designer

While Nissan DeltaWing will not be classified in the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours, the Company is looking to showcase the technology that will show one potential direction for the future of motorsport and will feed into the research and development of future technologies, that filter down to Nissan's road car product range.

Other core partners on the DeltaWing project include US-domiciled 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 North America.

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.

But this is just the start of our involvement. Nissan DeltaWing embodies a vast number of highly-innovative ideas that we can learn from. At the same time, our engineering resources and commitment to fuel efficiency leadership via our PureDrive strategy will help develop DeltaWing into a testbed of innovation for 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

—Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

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.

—Nissan DeltaWing concept originator and designer, Ben Bowlby

The driver sits well back in the DeltaWing, almost over the rear axle and looks ahead down a long, narrow fuselage to narrow twin front tires, specially created for the car by tire partner Michelin. With a rear-mounted engine, the car has a strong rearward weight bias, which makes it highly manoeuvrable, while its light weight and slippery shape make it far more efficient.

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’, the spot in the pitlane reserved for experimental cars. As it doesn’t conform to any existing championship regulations, Nissan DeltaWing will not be eligible to challenge for silverware and will carry the race number ‘0’.

The first two Nissan DeltaWing drivers to be confirmed are British Sportscar racer Marino Franchitti and Nissan’s reigning FIA GT1 World Champion Michael Krumm. The car will make its first public demo laps at Sebring, Florida on 15 March.



I am a little disappointed that there is no sign of Batman though!


in Le-Mans they are allowed to use a canopy, so I don't understand why they didn't use one on this car since it would improve the aerodynamic, also why 2 seats ? that also affect the aerodynamic, last but not least a breaking recovery system like the KERS would make this car even more efficient. But still overall that is quite an exciting project and it is interesting to see how well they can compete against the Audi diesel hybrid ...


"why 2 seats ?"

I think it's in the rules. Le Mans is still a "sports car race" and sports cars have two seats. It's also why this car has 4 wheels.

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