Holy Cow Batman! Its a real-life Batmobile! But with all humorous references aside, this is indeed a functioning race car set to appear on the stories raceway of Le Mans 24 Hours this Summer. While several car makers, including Audi, have already announced the deployment of hybrid powertrain in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, Nissan will be only one fielding a radically different racing vehicle, the Nissan DeltaWing.
With help from automotive designer Ben Bowlby, the legendary race team owner Don Panoz, racer Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers, Duncan Dayton’s Highcroft Racing Team, and Michelin Tyres North America, the Nissan DeltaWing will be a research platform into the future of race car designs. Propulsion comes in the form of a Nissan 1.6-litre DIG-T engine, a direct injection turbocharged powerplant capable of generating 300 horsepower yet with only half of the fuel consumption when comparing to its peers. The vehicle also weighs about half as much and presents an aerodynamic footprint that is half of typical road going vehicle as well. Another unique aspect is the driver’s position at the vehicle’s rear, together with the rear mounted engine, the center-of-gravity is offset to the back. In traditional chassis, the odd configuration would be a major set back. However, Nissan saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate the maneuverability of such layout. Thanks to such visionary mindset, the organizer of Le Mans 24 Hours extended an invitation for the Nissan DeltaWing. The team will pull into Garage 56 on the week of the race, a special pit lane for experimental cars. And because its design is way ahead of any vehicle categories, the DeltaWing will carry the numeral destination of “0”.