Take one part Ariel Atom, one part Nissan DeltaWing LeMans racer, and several parts Nismo ZEOD RC and you’ll end up with the car you see here. It’s not a car in and of itself, however. Instead, it’s a proof-of-concept test mule, and – thanks to its giggle-inducing handling – it’s the reason a 2017 Nissan BladeGlider is actually, really going to happen.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Road & Track’s Alex Kerstein got a chance to meet with the Nissan engineers and get the real scoop, firsthand:
This isn’t really an engineering mule. It was built from a readily-available off-the-shelf vehicle as a proof of concept. Its mission was to convince skeptical Japanese executives at Nissan that their first impressions of the idea were as wrong-headed as my own. They did this by letting them flog the piss out of both cars on an autocross course.
While a vehicle with a super-narrow front track may seem like exactly the kind of understeering pig that you would not want to take autocrossing, the narrow front track …
… reduces tire loading in a corner and, supposedly, makes it easier to rotate the rear end under power. In addition, the car’s 30/70 weight distribution – not too far off from the DeltaWing / ZEOD RC racers – keeps the amount of work the front end needs to do (and, therefor, the effect of said understeer) to a minimum.
It’s all very neat stuff, and I definitely recommend you head over to Kierstein’s original article for more photos and driving impressions of the car that made the upcoming 2017 Nissan BladeGlider a real thing. Enjoy!
Source | Images: Road & Track.