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The DeltaWing might make the transition from the racetrack to the street. Two recent patents show possible designs for a future road car.

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Don Panoz isn't a guy to shy away from a fight. Since December, Panoz's Deltawing Technologies has been in a lawsuit with Nissan over alleged intellectual property violations with the design of the Zeod RC. The situation went public several weeks ago when Deltawing bought an ad in The Tennessean, a paper near Nissan's US headquarters, and the industry trade, Automotive News, aimed squarely at company CEO Carlos Ghosn.

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When the Nissan ZEOD RC limped to the side of the Circuit de la Sarthe a mere five laps into this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, we imagine that a certain American motorsports figure at least smirked a little. Don Panoz's ongoing feud with Nissan probably means he wasn't sorry to see the arrow-shaped racecar's poor showing, and now he's stepping up his campaign against his former racing partner.

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It's a rare thing for pie-in-the-sky concepts to make production relatively unmolested. Edges are usually softened, mirrors made bigger and wheels shrunken into something that will be less backbreaking and easier to see out of on public roads. And while the essence of many concepts can still find their way into production, the wackier parts found in their concept forms often end up as nothing more than flights of fancy.

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Similarity is bound to occur in an industry where most of the products follow the same basic formula. But once in a while a new design comes along that doesn't quite reinvent the wheel, but comes pretty damn close. The DeltaWing project was one such design – and Nissan, the car's designers allege, stole that design.

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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 t

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Returning for its sophomore season, numerous changes have been made to the DeltaWing racecar – not the least of which is the fact that it is no longer associated with Nissan – but the most significant update could be a remedy to one of the car's biggest criticisms, its color. In the car's inaugural season, it was reported that other drivers on the track simply couldn't see the racecar, which, due to a combination of its narrow, low-slung stance and its matte black paint scheme, resul

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The development of the DeltaWing is making a break and taking a left turn, with a report on Speed revealing that almost none of the partners who helped make the car possible are involved in its racing plans for 2013. That includes Ben Bowlby, the man who dreamed it up, Dan Gurney's All American Racers, Highcroft Racing and Nissan – all of them have apparently stepped away. The only potential supplier left is Michelin, and it's only potential because Michelin hasn't commented on the matter.

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Earlier reports of a merger between the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series have proven to be well founded today, as representatives from both series have confirmed that the merger is indeed taking place.

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The DeltaWing project now has two major corporate backers and, more importantly, an engine. Nissan and Michelin have signed on with the innovative project of designer Ben Bowlby, Dan Gurney's All-American Racers and Don Panoz. Now called the Nissan DeltaWing, the Japanese firm will provide a turbocharged, direct-injected 1.6-liter, four-cylinder with an output of around 300 horsepower. Known as DIG-T, the powerplant shares the same roots as the engine in the Nissan Juke.

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Panoz Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans – Click above for image gallery

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Panoz Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans – Click above for high-res image gallery

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