DeltaWing Backer Sues Nissan Over BladeGlider, ZEOD RC


bladeglider-2Last year the cutting-edge DeltaWing race car concept got a big boost when Nissan signed on as a major sponsor. But that relationship came to an end earlier this year as Nissan decided to strike out on its own with a hybrid DeltaWing knockoff called the Nissan ZEOD RC. That was bad enough, but the recent Nissan BladeGlider concept was the last straw as the DeltaWing designers have sued the Japanese automaker for patent infringement.

The lawsuit is headed by Don Panoz, an American motorsports enthusiast who has had his hand in many different racing series, including the IMSA and the American Le Mans Series. Panoz doesn’t always leave the best impression on people (just ask Jo, who was too biased against Panoz to write this piece), but his lawsuit against Nissan might have some merit. After all, it’s not hard to see the similarities between the long thin nose and wide booty of the DeltaWing, and Nissan’s two concept vehicles.

After spending a year pumping up the DeltaWing design, which performed quite well, Nissan dropped out of the project and instead rolled out a very similar-looking ZEOD RC just months later. That was when the first signs of a lawsuit started brewing, but once the Nissan BladeGlider debuted, Panoz, who was a major backer of the DeltaWing, could take no more.

But here is where things get interesting. The actual designer of the DeltaWing, Ben Bowlby, actually joined the Nissan project, and is named as a defendant in the lawsuit as well. Still. Panoz sent a cease-and-desist letter to Nissan specifically regarding thee ZEOD and BladeGlider concept, claiming intellectual property infringement.

The whole thing stinks if you ask me, and maybe Jo is right about this guy. After all, who stands a better chance at actually doing something with the BladeGlider idea? Hint; it’s not the guy named Don.

Source: Automotive News

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • getinit56

    I disagree. I also will praise Don. He’s employed a lot of people here in GA, even when its not been profitable. Just to pursue his passion for racing. His efforts in continuing, promoting, and holding ALMS together when Nascar was grabbing the grand am series up, is respectable. I don’t think Nissan will do anything with it but shelf it, unless they get it in a racing series. Good luck with getting it in an American or European series of any kind considering who they’re fighting on this. So…., Who is a billionaire that owns a specialty vehicle manufacturing facility and the ALMS? Here’s a hint, it’s not Nissan.

    • I disagree on all counts. Sure, maybe the guy employs people, but so do oil companies and drug cartels- that, in itself, is hardly a good thing. As for holding the ALMS together, that series’ escalating costs and B-level FIA spec. cars did more to confuse American sports car racing than it did to help- just like Tony George f***ed open-wheel racing, Don Panoz, IMO, f***ed sportscar.

      As for Panoz being a billionaire, dudebro- that is LESS THAN PEANUTS compared to the beast that is Nissan-Renault, that counts revenue in the hundreds of … get real.

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  • Del Baumgartner

    Well I’ve never met Don but I respect him as an entrepreneur and small ( by Nissan standards) business man. I admire Don for what he has accomplished in business and motorsports racing but I believe he has a tough battle ahead of him. If there are two gorillas in a room and one weights 400 lbs (Nissan) and the other weights 50 lbs.(Don), chance are the 400 lb. gorilla will win the battle. Another problem …. neither Don, Bowlby, or Nissan own the Delta wing concept. We employed the Delta Wing concept on the space shuttle program after the Apollo 11 landing by Boeing and NASA. The Delta Wing concept was developed by the aerospace industry.
    Del Baumgartner, CEO