In pretty much any racing series you go to, the cars tend to progress in an evolutionary, not revolutionary fashion. This year's crop of Formula One cars, for example, may have those ungainly stepped noses, but they otherwise look pretty much the same as last year's cars, which looked mostly the same as the cars the year before and the year before that, and so on and so forth. The same could be generally said of Indy, Le Mans prototypes...even stock cars. The DeltaWing project, however, is another story altogether.
Designed and developed by an alliance of some of the biggest names in racing and recently backed by Nissan, the DeltaWing represents a comprehensive rethink of what form a race car can and should take. The idea was originally fielded as a proposal for the new IndyCar chassis, but that series' organizers went once again for something much more conventional. So the brain trust behind the project adapted it for endurance racing and are taking it to Le Mans this year.
But surely they didn't put all that work into it just to race it once – outside the classifications as a demonstration only – did they? Not if Don Panoz has anything to say about it. One of the partners in the DeltaWing project and the father of the racing car manufacturer that bears his name, Panoz hopes to find a way to race the DeltaWing in the American Le Mans Series which he essentially founded.
A way to equalize its performance with either the LMP1 or LMP2 classes would need to be found with the IMSA and the FIA, but considering how it was adapted from an IndyCar proposal to a Le Mans racer, the platform seems pretty flexible. But Panoz doesn't want to race just one. Sure, a solitary entry in the full ALMS calendar would be a great start, but Panoz reportedly envisions assembling a quantity of DeltaWings at his factory in Georgia that has over the years built cars for Indy, Champ Cars, Superleague Formula and of course Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series.
Just how many remains to be seen, but with powerhouses like Panoz, Nissan, Highcroft, Chip Ganassi and Dan Gurney on board, we would be very surprised if the DeltaWing ran just the once.