After delving into the new Nissan ZEOD chassis last week
turns its attention to its American skinny-tire rival, the DeltaWing Coupe.
Owned and operated by American Le Mans Series founder Don Panoz, the closed-top prototype is creation of DeltaWing's Simon Marshall and has been built by Panoz's Elan Technologies firm in Georgia. Scheduled to make its competition debut during this weekend's ALMS event at Circuit of The Americas, DeltaWing team principal Dave Price gave RACER an inside look at the Coupe's development heading into COTA.
“The recent shakedown we did with the Coupe was probably one of the best shakedowns we've ever had,” said Price. “We had a difficult gestation period with the [DeltaWing] Roadster but, as you saw at Road America, we finally got on top of most of the issues. But the issues that really gave us most difficulty was the packaging and the heat problem we had, which the Coupe has dispensed with pretty much.
“We've got separate radiators for water, oil and intercoolers now, so they're not all trying to vie for the same amount of air. We've got separate ducting for them all. So we've got a nice cool charge temperature to the turbo; we can contain the water temperature and we even had to tape the oil radiator up, which is good because it was 90 degrees at the test the other day. Comparatively, we really struggled with oil temperature in the Roadster. I mean really struggled.”
At the urging of the ACO, the original open-top DeltaWing design used a homologated, crash-tested tub from the Aston Martin AMR-One project, and with it came certain packaging limitations. By starting with a clean-sheet Coupe tub, many of those packaging issues have been overcome, and in a nod to the original Roadster design, Price confirmed the rest of the 2012 car's mechanicals have been retained.
“Simon and all of the DeltaWing staff were working toward solving all these problems in the Coupe and we're just finishing off and tidying up now and finishing some of the detail in the cockpit, which is all new on this car,” Price continued. “But basically, all the suspension is exactly the same as the Roadster, the gearbox is the same. So we didn't expect too many problems there. And what we were hoping to achieve, which is the biggest difference from the Roadster, is temperature control.
“The difference in the Coupe and Roadster is you'll see – apart from the roof, of course – is the center of the nose is a lot lower between the wheels, so we've lowered the frontal area. Most of the changes have been aimed at trying to improve the aero a bit. And we've still got another development to go on that with the underbody. We deliberately made modifications to the chassis so that we've got some ability to improve the underbody further.”