Forget the Batmobile, look at this!

Nissan racer

The future of endurance racing? Nissan hopes so.

MOVE over Batman, Nissan is backing a bid to build a vehicle to rival the Batmobile!
The Japanese motor giant wants to change endurance racing forever. And to do so, it has become a founding partner in a radical project − the Nissan DeltaWing.
A hugely-efficient, high technology engine will power the machine as it takes part in its first race − the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours on June 16 and 17.
Too new to be classified for this year’s classic, Nissan aims to showcase the sort of technology which will show a possible direction for motorsport to travel along. Results will also be fed into further research and development of new technologies, with the aim that these will eventually reach the company’s roadgoing products.
The DeltaWing’s power plant is a race-prepared 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, withdirect petrol injection and a turbocharger, and is half the weight and has half the aerodynamic drag of a conventional racer.
With innovation at its core, Nissan was a natural partner to be invited into the DeltaWing family by the existing group of core partners − US-domiciled British designer Ben Bowlby, American motorsport entrepreneur Don Panoz, the All-American Racers organisation of former US Formula 1 driver Dan Gurney, Duncan Dayton’s two-time championship-winning Highcroft Racing team and Michelin Tyres North America.
The engine, badged DIG-T (Direct Injection Gasoline − Turbocharged), is expected to produce around 300hp, sufficient to give Nissan DeltaWing lap times between LMP1 and LMP2 machines at Le Mans, despite having only half the power of those conventional prototypes. It features the same technology found in Nissan road cars, such as the range-topping Nissan Juke DIG-T.
“As motor racing rulebooks have become tighter over time, racing cars look more and more similar and the technology used has had less and less relevance to road car development. Nissan DeltaWing aims to change that and we were an obvious choice to become part of the project,” said Andy Palmer, executive vice-president, Nissan Motor Co Ltd.
“But this is just the start of our involvement. Nissan DeltaWing embodies a vast number of highly-innovative ideas that we can learn from. At the same time, our engineering resources and commitment to fuel efficiency leadership via our PureDrive strategy will help develop DeltaWing into a testbed of innovation for Nissan.”
“This announcement gives Nissan the opportunity to become part of a ground-breaking motorsport project and one which could shape the future of the sport,” he added.
Nissan DeltaWing concept originator and designer, Briton Ben Bowlby, said: “Nissan has provided us with our first choice engine. It’s a spectacular piece. We’ve got the engine of our dreams: it’s the right weight, has the right power and it’s phenomenally efficient.”
Nissan DeltaWing is unlike any other racing car currently on track. The driver sits well back in the car, almost over the rear axle and looks ahead down a long, narrow fuselage to narrow twin front tyres, specially created for the car by tyre partner Michelin. With a rear-mounted engine, the car has a strong rearward weight bias, which makes it highly manoeuvrable, while its light weight and slippery shape make it far more efficient.
Its innovative design and forward-looking technology have encouraged the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organisers of the famous Le Mans 24 Hours, to invite the car to run in this year’s race from ‘Garage 56’, the spot in the pitlane reserved for experimental cars. As it doesn’t conform to any existing championship regulations, Nissan DeltaWing will not be eligible to challenge for silverware and will carry the race number ‘0’.
Nissan’s expertise has been applied to the development of the engine, in order to make it light and efficient enough to prove the philosophy behind the concept can work in ‘real-world’ motor racing. The Company, always among the first to embrace such radical ideas and surprising new performance innovations, has promised to apply key learnings from the experience to inform strategies for its PureDrive aerodynamics and efficiency package for road cars, as well as its overall research and development programmes.
Dan Gurney’s legendary All American Racers organisation has built the DeltaWing. The new car continues the California organisation’s incredible legacy as a race car constructor which has included 157 different cars built − earning major victories in Formula 1, sportscars and the Indianapolis 500.
The first two Nissan DeltaWing drivers to be confirmed are British Sportscar racer Marino Franchitti and Nissan’s reigning FIA GT1 World Champion Michael Krumm. The car will make its first public demo laps at Sebring, Florida, at 12.30pm local time on Thursday, March 15.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,