Nissan took the new DeltaWing racer out for a quick parade lap at Sebring last week. The funky-looking car wasn't exactly tackling each apex at competition speeds, but the demonstration suggests development is on the right path. Nissan says the design weighs half as much as a typical competition vehicle and has half the aerodynamic drag as well, making it far more efficient. Likewise, the car requires less power to maintain the same level of performance (Nissan has fitted the DeltaWing with a turbocharged, direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine). Despite the way it looks, it even appears to go around corners.

According to the press release that accompanies the footage after the jump, the DeltaWing won't run as a classified entrant in this year's running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but will be present as a demonstration of what the design has to offer the world's race teams. Hit the jump for a look at two videos; one (sadly audio-free) clip from the public display at Sebring and another look from testing at another facility from inside the car.





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Following first public demonstration laps today at Sebring

About Nissan DeltaWing
A highly advanced and hugely efficient Nissan engine will power the remarkable DeltaWing car as it races in anger for the first time at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours.

While Nissan DeltaWing will not be classified in the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours, the company is looking to showcase the pioneering technology that will show one potential direction for the future of motorsport and will feed into the research and development of future technologies, that filter down to Nissan's road car product range.

A race-prepared 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, featuring direct petrol injection and a turbocharger, will power Nissan DeltaWing, which is half the weight and has half the aerodynamic drag of a conventional racer.

With innovation at its core, Nissan was a natural partner to be invited into the DeltaWing family by the existing group of core partners – US-domiciled British designer Ben Bowlby, American motorsport entrepreneur Don Panoz, the All-American Racers organization of former US Formula 1 driver Dan Gurney, Duncan Dayton's two-time championship-winning Highcroft Racing team and Michelin Tires North America.


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  • 53 Comments
      tylermars.design
      • 2 Years Ago
      Physics tells you one thing, while this video says something very different. I'm no longer laughing, this is just insanely cool.
      Jason Sieben
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would think this would be difficult to drive in one sense. As I watched the in-car video I kep thinking to myself how I would want to cut the apex just right and usually that would include keeping the front end near the racing line. But you have to consider the larger width of the rear wheels still...I'm not a professional though. It's got to mess with your head.
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Sieben
        If you touch the apex with the nose, a good couple feet of rear end would end up running over the grass. You would have to intentionally run a few feet wide of the apex so that only the inner rear wheel clips it, not the front (unless you had some wild amounts of oversteer).
      Soccer Mom
      • 2 Years Ago
      Perhaps, it is fast. I just don't understand the physics behind its cornering powers.
        j3oomerang
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Soccer Mom
        I think the trick is that a strong majority of the weight is on the rear axle. Maybe it even turns a bit with the rear wheels?
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @j3oomerang
          Maybe it would be allowed to compete with an active/torque vectoring differential, or braking the rear inside wheel whenever the steering is turned.
      k_m94
      • 2 Years Ago
      I may be wildly wrong, but a general rule of thumb for neutral handling is to have the ratio of front tire width to rear tire width the same as the front to rear weight distribution. So if this car has laughably skinny 4" wide front tires and foot wide rear tires, it would have a ratio of 25/75%. If at least 75% of the weight rested on the rear axle, then it would be no more prone to understeer than a traditional setup. The front contact patches could be puny because they are only supporting a tiny amount of the car's mass, the nose could probably change direction and keep a cornering line with little turning force from the tires needed. This is kind of evident when comparing the tire width ratios of front, mid, and rear engined sportscars. The front engined one would have closest to a square tire setup, the mid and rear having progressively bigger staggers such that the front tires are economy car wide and the rears the size of racecar steamrollers. Yet each setup can achieve neutral (if still unique) handling behaviours. A Porsche GT2 can get away with 9" wide fronts and 13" wide rears because most of the weight sits on the rear axle. Of course, this is before considering suspension geometry altogether.
        ShutoSteve
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        Voted up for knowledge of car dynamics. However, one can surely say they would much rather have a car that understeers than a car that oversteers. I can control an understeering car - an oversteering car, not so much.
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ShutoSteve
          @cashsixeight When a racecar understeers, the worst that can happen is it just misses the apex and maybe nudges another car. When a racecar oversteers, due to the massive but very sudden limits of grip of a racing tire, even hardcore professional racers are prone to spinning out or losing excessive momentum due to the instability. That is part of the reason why every single road car is designed to understeer approaching the limit, even if it is only a tiny push before being balanced or provoked into oversteer by the driver. Racecars are typically neutral right up to the limit, and very few would be set up to oversteer first, not understeer on turn in.
          cashsixeight
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ShutoSteve
          Are you joking? Understeering cars just start to plow. Oversteering cars can be controlled with the throttle, if they're RWD. You're clueless!
        cashsixeight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        Thing is, everything you just said only makes sense when the car is static. Under heavy braking... a LOT more of that mass is going to be in the front of the car. This what I don't get about this thing. If it is SLAMMING on it's brakes, and going around a corner... how are those little tires going to last?
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          I think the rear tires do almost all of the braking, which may actually lead to oversteer being an issue as opposed to overwhelming the fronts and understeering. Also, the limited suspension travel, low COG, extremely light nose, and greater rear downforce will all keep the car from shifting too much of its weight onto the front wheels, even under heavy braking. Again, this is just reasoning rather than actual physics, which I am sure the people behind this car are masters of.
      nickms3
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can we get this in GT5 please.
      Agent55
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a baffling automobile, it just seems all wrong and I've yet to see evidence it can carry mid-corner speeds and brake as deep as something with the wider track and big contact-patches of a traditional racer. But if Nissan decided to put their name on it, there must be some legitimate potential to it, best of luck to them.
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      No sound on the first video...damn.
      RobbS.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I actually see the merits of this set-up. NO, it won't tip over..do you see how wide the rear track is? And, though conventional knowledge will make you think that it'll understeer, just imagine the turn-in potential of that narrow front track..narrow front tracks on cars usually means it's easier to dial in sharp turn in. Now, the rear end will try to keep up with the sharp turn-in and may even be caught by surprise and swing its tail a bit. I really think this has the potential to be a neutral and SHARP handling car.
        Ingeniero
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RobbS.
        I don't know. I just have the feeling that a large mass in the rear and a narrow mass at the front makes for an unfavorable moment of inertia, meaning a resistance to turning. Kind of like a hammer, or a Porsche 911. Though it's interesting for sure.
      Boost Retard
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've seen a lot of complaining about how this car has only a 1.6 liter engine and probably won't be very quick. However, this thing has a better power to weight ratio than a supercharged Ariel Atom along with superior aerodynamics. The Deltawing has been quoted as weighing somewhere between 1100 lbs and "under 1300" lbs, which at its maximum, makes it less than the Atoms 1350. Both cars put out around 300 horsepower. I don't see acceleration, braking or top speed being an issue here. The only issue I see here is that the dragster like tire setup and weight distribution shouldn't allow this thing to turn...but it does! Obviously, there's some engineering magic going on here. Corner exits are likely enhanced by the cars torque vectoring differential. I still can't figure out how it turns in on corner entry...if anything, it doesn't transfer enough weight forward under braking to overcome the grip on those 135/15's up front. At any rate, the more I see it in action, the more I'm convinced that minds will be blown in June.
      Redline
      • 2 Years Ago
      Weird. Hitting an apex must be... interesting?
        jonnybimmer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Redline
        Right? Imagine the driver's initial thoughts as he's shown what he'll be driving. "Oh... Man, you weren't kidding when you said it was different than what I've driven before."
        ShutoSteve
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Redline
        Hit the apex with the front wheels and feel the rear wheels jump onto the grass. That has to be really insane.
      dontbreakthebox
      • 2 Years Ago
      Like everyone here, I just don't understand how this this works... Good point by JIM J - How would it do on a drying track? And I cant really imagine driving this thing (more like I can't wrap my head around it)...how do you trace your lines and clip apexes with only your rear wheel? That must be a strange thing to deal with. Remember this was a proposed Indy Car body, so I'm sure it's great on an oval!
        New Shel
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dontbreakthebox
        How will this handle car washes? Just kidding, but until all the cars have this 3-track stance, the wet will be an issue.
      Blakkar
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you read the preceding comments you will note that the vast majority of them confirm the notion that most car "fans" are actually lacking knowledge not the subject they comment on. Instead the make up or rely upon rumors and myths perpetuated by equally unknowledgeable persons. Thus they will never know or understand the truth. 1) The Deltawing is not going to "kill" everything out there. It is a proof of concept car meant to prove, in effect, you can get more from less. It is in the Experimental class, so it will not be allowed to win the race if it does. But it could seriously embarrass cars like the AUDI R18 by at least not being left behind. If it wins actually, it does come in first. The Sun just rose in a different color on autoracing. 2) The cars rotational center is literally behind the driver.The car is very sensitive (Sensitive does not mean twitchy or dangerously touchy) to steering input as a result. that long nose has a huge amount of leverage and not much mass to work against to steer. Obviously, the car is not set up to make steering too difficult or too easy. 3) The Deltawing is not going to roll over its nose taking a turn fast because it has a "nearly on the ground" CG, not enough body roll to roll over the tire, and the car is sitting on it's rear wheels. Not all four in equal measure, like a 3-wheeler ATV, or an aforementioned "Reliant Robin" on their three. I would have felt better about the car running all out for 24 hours if the engine was a 2.0L-2.5L and not a 1.6L from the Juke. But squeezing "only " 300hp out of the engine should be fine. I still think FORD or GM should have gone with this car.
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