The Nissan DeltaWing will kick off the next phase of its development for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans in Europe after departing Don Panoz's Elan Motorsports Technologies in Georgia yesterday.
After a week of testing on the unforgiving Sebring International Raceway concrete, the car headed to Atlanta for final preparation prior to its scheduled European test program. It ended a whirlwind month of March for the Nissan DeltaWing team. The program kicked into high gear on March 13 with the launch of the Nissan partnership in London followed by the official unveiling of the race car at Sebring two days later on March 15.
With the initial prototype built by Dan Gurney's All American Racers group in California, Panoz's EMT organization were put to work this week to fine tune components and bodywork, using the lessons learned from the initial shakedown test at Buttonwillow in California and the Sebring test to refine the Nissan DeltaWing "mobile experiment."
Like Gurney's All American Racers group, Elan has a winning pedigree having designed and built the Indy 500 and IndyCar championship-winning G-Force chassis, the DP01 Champ Car, the DP09 Superleague Formula chassis as well as cars for IMSA Lites and F2000 competition.
Nissan are not only providing the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine for the DeltaWing. Nissan technical personnel have been embedded within the DeltaWing team since the manufacturer first became involved and it's commitment now ramps up another level as the program moves to Europe.
"There were a lot of lessons learned from our week in testing at Sebring," related project designer Ben Bowlby. "With the bumps, it is certainly very tough on every component and that was one of the attractions of testing there.
"We've been able to make some adjustments to the car and we will continue to do so right up to the green flag at Le Mans. Overall, however, we are very pleased with the performance and the car confirmed our simulations that it does indeed turn – and turns remarkably well.
"While this car has half as many components as a traditional LMP car, there are still more than 3,000 new parts that have never been bolted together before. The guys did a fantastic job last week and having access to the EMT facilities this week has been brilliant. We've made a great start and we're all now very much looking forward to hitting the track in Europe."
• The Deltawing will be a prominent part of the upcoming 20th Anniversary issue of RACER, including an "In Focus" photo shoot and detailed technical analysis of the car. Don't miss out on your chance to own a piece of history! CLICK HERE to subscribe today at a 30% discount!