Part Bat-Mobile, part jet fighter, all race car. That is the best way to describe the DeltaWing IndyCar Concept, which is on display at the Chicago Auto Show right now. The DeltaWing’s creators hope that the revolutionary design could be “the future of open wheel racing”. It certainly looks like something straight from the future.
The DeltaWing combines slick aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, the DeltaWing should be able to achieve speeds in excess of 200 mph using less horsepower and as much as half the fuel of current Indy cars. It is slated to begin testing this summer.
The big enemy to all high-speed cars is air resistance, or drag. Lots of drag is present underneath cars, which is why stock cars and Indy cars are so low to the ground. But the DeltaWing goes a step further, adopting the design of fixed-wing fighter jets with its dart-like front end and wide, wing-like rear. Two air inlets on either side of the cockpit channel air through the body rather than around it, while the “open wheels” are partially covered. The large vertical wing helps stabilize the DeltaWing, which weighs in at just over 1,000 pounds.
Another interesting feature of the DeltaWing is the engine. Current Indy cars generally feature a 3.5 liter, naturally aspirated V8 engine putting out around 650 horsepower. The DeltaWing uses a four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which would have to make at least 300 horsepower to reach speeds over 200 mph. Another big difference is that the engine is being designed to go 4,000 miles before needing a rebuild. While that may not seem like much, consider that many race car series from Indy to stock car to drag racing, rebuild the engine after every race.
A working model of the DeltaWing is due out in August. I for one am looking forward to any car designed to go fast as efficiently as possible.