Motorsports nissan-deltawing

Published on June 12th, 2012 | by Christopher DeMorro

9

Video: How The Nissan DeltaWing Changes The Blueprint For Racing

The advances being made daily in automotive technology is impressive, but the research and development going into race cars is borderline mind-boggling. From Toyota’s record-setting electric Nurburgring racer to 1,500+ horsepower natural gas supercars, alternative fuels are providing a new platform for performance. Nissan’s DeltaWing racer is revving up for its Le Mans debut, and its success or failure could have huge implications for the future of racing.

The Nissan DeltaWing is a car that shouldn’t work, but does. With a 17.5/82.5 weight imbalance, the back-heavy DeltaWing utilizes a center-of-gravity that is farther back than in most traditional racing vehicles. Without getting too technical, this essentially means that since most of the weight is over the wide-track rear wheels, the Nissan DeltaWing is incredibly agile and stable. The DeltaWing can reportedly pull 3 lateral g’s in the corners thanks to its unique setup, while sacrificing nothing in the way of pure speed.

The real draw of the Nissan DeltaWing though is that it does more, with less, in more than one way. Weighing in at a feather-light 1,050 pounds, the DeltaWing uses just a 1.6 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (pulled from, of all cars, the Nissan Juke) to produce 300 horsepower. That’s about half what most Le Mans cars make from much bigger engines…and yet the DeltaWing is expected to turn lap times that are competitive with its much larger competitors. Despite similar performance, the DeltaWing will use half the fuel, half the tires, and halves the drag created by even the most aerodynamic race cars.

The above video demonstrates just some of the adversity the designer, Ben Bowlby, had to face when designing from scratch the future of racing. The fact that Nissan is taking a chance by backing Bowlby’s project gives it a fighting chance of changing the way racing is perceived. Yet the DeltaWing might mean so much more than that. Racing refinements often trickle down into everyday life, and while I’m not saying we might all one day be driving DeltaWing-based street cars, the ideas that make the DeltaWing light, powerful, and efficient could impact the cars we do drive every day.

So what is the end game for the Nissan DeltaWing? Who knows. But I think the next evolution in endurance racing is fuel restrictions. Rather than limiting what kinds of race cars teams can enter, I’d like to see a racing series where the only restriction is how much fuel teams can use. Now you’ve got to as fast and as efficient as possible, which will force teams to really buckle down and innovate, rather than grinding out new performance from old ideas.

For now, the DeltaWing will run only as an experimental car…but the day may come when racing historians look back and say the DeltaWing was a watershed moment for racing advancement.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. When he isn't wrenching or writing, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Pete R

    Totally agree about fuel limited series….Le Mans should have been this years ago. It is the only sensible way to go now we are having face up to our past extravagances with oil.
    I hope the DeltaWing succeeds in changing some attitudes.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ NeilBlanchard

    I love the DeltaWing racer, and yes they should have been racing this sort of racer all along. Way back in the early 60′s we had some wonderful cars like the 1964 CD Panhard LM64:

    http://www.finecars.cc/en/detail/car/12815/index.html

    It could drive at ~155MPH+ with just a 1L 2-cylinder engine! It must have sounded awesome!

    Neil

    • http://www.sublimeburnout.com Christopher DeMorro

      @ NeilBlanchard

      I have never heard of that car until now…that’s utterly amazing.

  • http://Yahoo.com Ronnie Rodriguez

    OK what is this? I need to know about the fuel and energy and progress in America. I really don’t care about this narrow racer and wierd fuel community…am I looking at the wrong site?

    • http://www.sublimeburnout.com Christopher DeMorro

      @ Ronnie Rodriguez

      Racing has always been at the forefront for automotive technology and progress in America. If you can’t understand that, then yes, you are looking at the wrong website. Thanks for stopping by though.

  • Pingback: 24 Hours of Le Mans Underway, Hybrids Kicking Ass Already

  • Pingback: Deltawing Heartbreaker (w/ video)

  • Pingback: Video: Revolutionary Nissan DeltaWing Returns To Track For Season Finale - Gas 2

  • Pingback: Rule Changes Could Bring Toyota Racing Hybrid To Formula One - Gas 2

Back to Top ↑