Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but in racing, where something as simple as a car's shape can lead to a competitive advantage, imitation can be a big no-no. That reality is being played out right now, with the DeltaWing prototype and the Nissan ZEOD RC. The two cars, as you can see from the images above, bear a striking resemblance to each other. They're so similar, in fact, that Dr. Don Panoz, one of the big names behind the DeltaWing program, is assigning some legal eagles to investigate any patent infringement.
The similarity shouldn't be a shock, though. Both cars are penned by Ben Bowlby, and the DeltaWing - which will be arriving as a coupe in the very near future – had Nissan branding and power for a not-insignificant amount of time. But for Panoz, the ZEOD RC's resemblance is just a bit too much, as he told Autoweek, "It's been interesting to watch people from Nissan trying to dodge the question, but the fact is that in their own press release they admit that the configuration of the ZEOD is the same as the DeltaWing. And we do have patents, in fact another one was just issued last week. We are in discussions with our legal advisors and we'll see what happens."
Frankly, it's not difficult to see what Panoz means. The general shape of the ZEOD RC, with its wide rear track and narrow front track arrangement – not to mention the headlights mounted over the rear wheel arches and any arrangements not visible under the body - are so reminiscent of the DeltaWing that differences like the shape of its closed cockpit and more upright front end might not prove different enough to avert Panoz's legal action. We'll stay with this one and let you know as more becomes available.