The Nissan DeltaWing took it first laps at Circuit de la Sarthe yesterday during practice sessions for the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans that's fast approaching. The world's oldest endurance race takes place in less than two weeks. While the DeltaWing underwent its first public testing session back in March at Sebring, this is the first time its drivers – Michael Krumm, Satoshi Motoyama and Marino Franchitti – have driven it at Le Mans.

The team was able to complete 54 practice laps, almost all of which were on the same set of tires. A brief instance of weather allowed for a single lap to be run on rain tires. The DeltaWing's quickest practice lap of 3 minutes, 47.980 seconds came at the hands of Motoyama. Based on the results of last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, that lap time would make the odd-looking DeltaWing competitive with the LMP2 class of cars, and notably quicker than either class of GT cars.

The DeltaWing will compete at Le Mans in the experimental "Garage 56" class meant to showcase innovative technology, and with half the weight, half the horsepower and half the aerodynamic drag of a typical Le Mans Prototype car, should consume tires and fuel at a much lower rate than the rest of the field. Backed by both Nissan and Michelin, the DeltaWing is powered by a 300-horsepower 1.6-liter Nissan DIG-T turbo engine and rides on special tires developed by Michelin that are only four inches wide in the front.

Scroll down to watch the video of the car's practice testing.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      With the rear being soooo much wider.....clipping an apex just right must be a real b***h
      Hal Jordan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Man, I like this "Garage 56" class! Run what you brung! No templates and no restrictions. It's an awesome idea that would, I'm sure, be affected by safety standards, but still! It would be great. I heard that the Indy 500 used to be like that. Anyone know?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hal Jordan
        Let's see if you can have multiple entries in the Garage 56 class, get some competition brewing with the out of the box engineering freak shows. I vote to see the Delta Wing vs 918 RSR vs an actual Batmobile sometime in the future...
      • 2 Years Ago
      Glad to see something exciting on the starting grid. What's with all the hate? Isn't it more fun to enjoy that someone is trying something new and interesting?
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't know if this car is deeply cool despite its comical looks, or because of it. But it is without a doubt a very special machine. Funny that a little pencil shaped Nissan, powered by a (heavily modified) Juke 1.6, with nobody to compete with, just might draw all the attention away from the fierce battles of the GT class and the sheer dominant pace of the Prototypes come race day. Kind of glad that Indy didnt green light the Deltawing design, because the sheer awe factor would be somewhat reduced when everyone's got the same "radical" car, and 24 Hours of Le Mans is just so much more special.
      Jon Acton
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sweet! I'm glad to hear that this thing is competitive with LMP2 cars. This is just the tip of the iceburg for this car and I have high hopes for its future. @barkeep- I too will be cheering for team Corvette!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now that is a proper Batmobile!
      The Law
      • 2 Years Ago
      Batman races in Le Man now what?
      Paul Hamilton
      • 2 Years Ago
      I guess this proves that it really can turn. I had my doubts as well but with their lap times, fuel mileage and fantastic tire wear, it could be very competitive among the P2s. Go Delta Wing, Go Pescarolo, Go Lizards! It's going to be a great Le Mans!
      • 2 Years Ago
      People keep harping on about how unlikely the thing is to turn with such a narrow front end - only a small amount of the steering is done with the front wheels. The bulk is handled with torque vectoring to the rear wheels. The car, in essence, has four-wheel steering. How that will affect tyre wear will be interesting, since more power will go to (if memory of La Sarthe serves correctly) the left-rear, but all the loads will be on the right.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just love this bold innovation and am looking forward to seeing it run.
      Luis Vendrell Dumeng
      • 2 Years Ago
      Batman's new ride?
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't see the braking performance with those little tires, but we'll see.
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