Remember Ben Bowlby’s DeltaWing racer? It promised to use half the horsepower, half the fuel, and half the tires as conventional race cars, without sacrificing any speed. Surprisingly, it sorta worked, at least well enough for Nissan to poach Bowlby and begin their own racing program around a strikingly-similar design.
Meanwhile, the DeltaWing team has soldiered on, filing a lawsuit against Nissan for stealing their race car’s design, while also making plans for a production car and a GT-class racer. Can Don Panoz’s ambitiously different race car actually become a something you and I can buy?
That’s the plan, and racing industry veteran Brian Willis is heading both the GT and production car plans. A two-seater GT racer is expected to make its debut later this year, though whether or not it will actually see any track time is a different story. There’s also ongoing work on a two and four-door version of the DeltaWing, using its trademark closely-spaced front wheels and a prototype 138 horsepower 1.4 liter four-cylinder engine that could deliver up to 70 MPG. There’s also talk of an electric version, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, as all we really have here are yet more renderings, and nothing of substance.
It’s one thing to build an efficient car, and another thing to sell it. DeltaWing’s plans may not go the traditional dealership route though, nor the direct sales method of Elon Musk and Tesla. Rather, there’s talk of developing a ride-sharing program around the DeltaWing vehicles.
There’s a long road between now and then though. Elio has shown there’s definite interest in an efficient three-wheeler, but whether there’s enough interest to ever become more than a rare niche vehicle…well, that’s a different story that’s yet to be told.