Nissan DeltaWing Prototype to Debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans

True fans of motorsports know that racing is not just about speed and winning. Rather, racing events like the FIA Formula One, MotoGP and the like, are geared toward developing automotive technology. The use of different fuels, compound tyres and engine technology in F1, for example, make their way into production cars, and eventually to us, daily drivers.

As such, one of the newer developments this year might just make cars more fuel efficient. Forget electric engines and hybrid synergy drive. This is all about radically redesigning the car, such that energy is efficiently used through aerodynamics and even a new take on the wheelbase.

The DeltaWing is a project by a racing develpment team that includes Nisan/NISMO, Ben Bowlby’s DeltaWing Racing Cars (design), Dang Gurney’s All American Racers (constructor), Duncan Dayton’s Highcroft Racing (racing drivers and crew), and advised by the International Motor Sports Association.

The DeltaWing uses a radical delta wing type design reminiscent of the NASA’s retired Space Shuttle. What’s interesting here is that the car looks like it only has three wheels.

But how will it corner, you ask? It actually has four wheels, but the front wheelbase is at a paltry 0.6 meters, with each front tyre only at 10 cm wide. But unlike a traditional Formula car, the DeltaWing does not have wings at the front or rear, but rather uses its wing shape and underbody design for downforce. The car will debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June, and has taken up space at Garage #56, which is usually reserved for experimental cars.

The DeltaWing is powered by a 1.6 liter turbocharged inline-4 engine, which produces 300 BHP. Not much for a racing machine, but considering the aerodynamics and weight (it’s only 500 kg — half the weight of the usual Le Mans prototype), the DeltaWing is promising, performance-wise.

My question now is whether cars of the future will likewise have a delta-wing design.

Check out the video from Road & Track below.

via Gearburn