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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      Mike
      • 2 Years Ago
      How do these things handle? It must handle well or there wouldn't be so much hype. The shape definitely looks good for straight-line top speed and has a similar design to some land speed record cars. It just looks like it wouldn't have great steering and stability in corners.
      Randell Weatherall J
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not only has it run laps, but it was running faster than LMP2 times, but not reliably. They were having gearbox reliability problems, so things were dialed back a bit. You have to also realize if the DW does finish the race, it will do it with less stops. Far less tire wear and better fuel mileage. If it does finish, it will definitely be interesting to see where it finishes even if it can't technically place.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      k_m94
      • 2 Years Ago
      I applaud the brilliant minds and hard workers behind this awesome car. It doesnt just step outside the box, it shreds it. Half the drag, weight, power, fuel consumption, and similar laptimes of a LMP car? Wow.
        Alex
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        Where are the similar laptimes?
          foci
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Alex
          If it were only about lap times, I think we would see can am car with active aero systems.
      Nick Thompson
      • 2 Years Ago
      As far as I know it hasn't actually done any laps. I think it's all pretty much theory.
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick Thompson
        It's done laps... Not at 100% race speed yet, but it works.
      Lemon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hope this car doesn't take out any GT cars at Le Mans with its wide butt... seems like it would be difficult to pass and hit apexes with the wide part of the car behind the driver's line of sight