Nancy Knapp Schilke, Le Mans correspondent
This morning in London, England, the Japanese automaker Nissan confirmed that they will be the powerplant for the DeltaWing project. The experimental prototype will make its debut this year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. Last year, Michelin confirmed that they will be the tire supplier for the project. Due to the innovated design of the car, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) extended the invitation for the to allow the DeltaWing to race on the La Sarthe circuit it will carry the #0 and will be scored as unclassified.
"As motor racing rulebooks have become tighter over time, racing cars look more and more similar and the technology used has had less and less relevance to road car development. Nissan DeltaWing aims to change that and we were an obvious choice to become part of the project," said Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan announced that the car will use a 1.6-litre DIG-T engine. The latest cutting-edge of technology prototype race car will be unveiled here at Sebring International Raceway. Marino Franchitti will run a few demo laps on the historic Florida circuit.
"This announcement gives Nissan the opportunity to become part of a ground-breaking motorsport project and one which could shape the future of the sport," added Palmer.
DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby was also present with the show car, along with Dr. Don Panoz (Managing Partner) and Highcroft Racing’s owner Duncan Dayton.
Last week, the Scottish sportscar ace was on track with the DeltaWing for the first time. The driver’s seat is quite different from other sportscar prototypes due to sitting further back and nearly over the rear axle. The car has twin front narrow tires designed and tested by Michelin. The Nissan engine will be mounted in the rear.
Paul Willcox, Senior Vice President, Nissan in Europe, said: "Nissan is a very innovative, forward-thinking company prepared to take a risk or two. And exactly the same applies to Nissan DeltaWing. Our involvement in the project shows the boldness of Nissan from an engineering and innovation mindset."
Nissan also named the second driver for the Nissan DeltaWing. The 2011 FIA GT1 World Champion Michael Krumm won the ride. Like Franchitti, he too is a champion driver beyond last year’s title with the JR Motorsports Nissan; he has also competed at Le Mans four times with a best finish of third.
"This is such an exciting programme to be a part of, and with Nissan partnering with DeltaWing it's just the icing on the cake! I cannot wait to show the car to the public at Sebring this weekend and although we have a lot of work still to do, I am looking forward to taking it to Le Mans in June with my co-driver, Michael Krumm, and the rest of the team." said Franchitti.
First on board video of the Nissan Delta Wing being driven on the race track Nissan