After its first private test held at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California, the Nissan DeltaWing made its first public laps Thursday afternoon at Sebring. A scrum of onlookers, including drivers, teams and media members gathered as Marino Franchitti prepared to take the car on track.
By design, the Nissan DeltaWing ran only an out- and in-lap for the first voyage, but will be on track several more times throughout the course of the weekend. It should be out again before Thursday night practice, twice on Friday, then again Saturday morning before the race.
Franchitti said the car felt good through the corners, noting it “feels like a racing car” and that the vision was not much different sitting farther back in the cockpit compared to cars he has previously competed in.
All the principals involved in the project were present with the exception of Dan Gurney and the All American Racers group. Those on site included Franchitti, car designer Ben Bowlby, ALMS founder Dr. Don Panoz, Highcroft Racing team principal Duncan Dayton, Michelin director of competition Nick Shorrock, and Nissan Europe's general manager Darren Cox.
“I have had dreams, and some of them have turned into nightmares,” Panoz said. “But this project is like all of my birthdays have come at once.”