NISSAN TO POWER DELTAWING
Confirmed: Nissan to power DeltaWing
Nissan confirmed on Tuesday what Autoweek revealed on Sunday--that a turbocharged Nissan four-cylinder is powering the DeltaWing, the innovative aircraft-like race car designed by Ben Bowlby, the former chief designer at Lola and most recently the technical director for Chip Ganassi Racing.
The 1.6-liter engine, badged DIG-T (direct-injection gasoline-turbocharged), is producing about 300 hp. “As motor-racing rule books 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,” said Andy Palmer, executive vice president of Nissan. “The DeltaWing aims to change that, and we were an obvious choice to become part of the project.
“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 test bed 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.”
The DeltaWing has been testing at Buttonwillow Raceway Park road course near Bakersfield, Calif. On Thursday, it will make demonstration laps at Sebring International Raceway as a prelude to the 60th-anniversary running of the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring this Saturday. The car will undergo further testing at Sebring next week.
The first two DeltaWing drivers to be confirmed are Marino Franchitti, brother of IndyCar racer Dario Franchitti, and Nissan's reigning FIA GT1 World Champion Michael Krumm. Franchitti has been the principal test driver.
The plan is to race the DeltaWing in its own experimental class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. Plans for the DeltaWing beyond June likely are dependent on how it does at Le Mans, but the American Le Mans Series has said that it is interested in seeing the DeltaWing race in that class. The car was developed as a possible IndyCar replacement two years ago, but IndyCar chose the more conventional Dallara chassis that debuts on track this spring.
The DeltaWing was developed by Bowlby, Dan Gurney's All American Racers and Highcroft Racing, the Duncan Dayton-led team that will handle the racing itself. Don Panoz, founder of the ALMS, is also a backer. Michelin was the first company to come aboard and likely helped land Nissan as the engine supplier.