Of all the exciting alternative fuel vehicles I cover for Gas2, none are as awesome as the Nissan DeltaWing. As a race car with half the weight, half the power, and half the fuel consumption with equivalent levels of performance, the DeltaWing is nothing short of a race car revolution. Now comes news that the DeltaWing will return for the last race of the World Endurance Championship Petit Le Mans contest.
After a disappointing crash at its debut race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the hands of a Toyota TS030 Hybrid race car, the DeltaWing will get another chance to prove its mettle on the field of battle. While the DeltaWing was allowed to race at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, most people didn’t expect it to keep up with the bigger, more powerful competition.
Yet the DeltaWing did, utilizing a unique chassis setup that includes two very narrow front wheels and a wide back end that makes for astounding agility, right up to the point that Toyota’s hybrid race car knocked it out of contention. What followed was 45 minutes of heartbreak as DeltaWing driver Satoshi Motoyama desperately tried to get the race car back on track, to no avail.
But because of the DeltaWing’s unique shape, drag is halved, fuel economy doubles, and the DeltaWing can pull an incredible 3 lateral g’s in the corner. Furthermore the DeltaWing is about half the weight ot a standard WEC race car, and the 1.6 liter engine makes just 300 horsepower, half what other race cars are pumping out. Yet the lap times are comparable to the more-poewrful competitors. The DeltaWing even uses half the tires a normal race car uses during the course of a race. The DeltaWing, in short, shows that racing is no longer about brute force; efficiency, not horsepower, will win the day when it comes to the future of motorsports.
If you can’t tell, I am excited to see the DeltaWing return to the track, and I am hoping that this is just the beginning of a much larger revolution in racing. Look for the Nissan DeltaWing to take to the track once again October 17th-20th at Petit Le Mans at the Road Atlanta race track.