Meet the 2017 Nissan BladeGlider Test Mule

2017 Nissan Bladeglider Mule

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 …

blade9-sm

PHOTO BY ALEX KIERSTEIN

… 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.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.