Nissan to Run Delta Wing at Le Mans in P.R. Stunt

DeltaWing will wear the number 0 at Le Mans, which may or may not indicate the amount of interest among endurance racing enthusiasts.

A Nissan DeltaWing experimental racecar will debut this week running demonstration laps ahead of the Sebring endurance race, then go on to the 24-hour race at LeMans in June. The lightweight car will be unclassified, which means it is not actually competing in the race and is ineligible for awards, unless they are for p.r. The real Japanese racer to watch at Le Mans this year will be a Toyota, which will run a hybrid in the fastest LMP1 class.

DeltaWing is powered by a Nissan 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with direct injection and is rated at 300 horsepower, adequate in theory and publicity release to give the Nissan DeltaWing lap times between LMP1 and LMP2 machines at Le Mans, which weigh twice as much. DeltaWing does not conform to any existing racing championship regulations.

Last year’s race was the most exciting in years – maybe decades – as Peugeot and Audi fought an epic battle. In a fiercely fought 24 hours of racing with sporadic rain, wrecks and attrition, a diesel-powered Audi R18 won the 24 hours of Le Mans in the fastest, factory run P1 class. The Audi was followed by four Peugeot 908s. The three drivers of the second place Peugeot – Simon Pagenaud, Pedro Lamy and Sebastien Bourdais – competed to the very end as their 908 was only 13 seconds behind. Nissan and Chevrolet Corvette did win in other classes.

With all racing organizations searching for relevance – and perhaps a return to something bearing the resemblance of actual production cars – it is not surprising that the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organizers of the Le Mans 24 Hours, will allow the purpose built racer to run. However, it will run in this year’s race from ‘Garage 56′, the spot on pit lane reserved for experimental cars. It will wear the number 0, which may or may not indicate the amount of interest among racing enthusiasts.

The first two Nissan DeltaWing drivers confirmed are British Sportscar racer Marino Franchitti and Nissan’s reigning FIA GT1 World Champion Michael Krumm. Dan Gurney’s All American Racers organization in California built the DeltaWing. The car will make its first public demo laps at Sebring, Florida, at 12.30pm local time on Thursday, March 15.

See also Audi R18 TDI on Pole at Le Mans, Peugeot Third in Qualifying and Audi, Nissan, and Chevrolet Corvette Win Le Mans

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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