With Nissan’s DeltaWing being a huge success in its last Le Mans race is now coming back to the Petit Le Mans with a vengeance, due to the unfortunate result of being contacted by another car at its last venture.
While the crazy looking racecar was previously driven by Satoshi Motoyama, Marino Franchitti and Michael Krumm, they are unavailable for Petit Le Mans due to previous commitments, however, this isn’t bad news at all.
Nissan’s unique GT Academy has had great success with its first winner, Spaniard Lucas Ordonez, and there’s no better time to have him drive the DeltaWing. He’ll be racing alongside American Le Mans Series PC class champion Gunnar Jeannette.
There’s also a possibility the radical Nissan DeltaWing will race in the 2013 ALMS, but until then, it will also run at the ALMS finale at Road Atlanta on October 17-20.
Nissan’s original goal with the DeltaWing was to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours using half the fuel and tires of modern prototypes, but unfortunately after only six hours when it was pushed off course by another car. Motoyama tried his hardest to repair the car to finish the race but it was impossible, though the teams efforts and unique design of their car garnered an enormous fan base that demanded the car return to racing.
Darren Cox, General Manager, Nissan in Europe, said: "Le Mans was a huge success for us - the car did everything we wanted it to do and more, proving that the pioneering technology we were testing in the world's most public laboratory works and is a viable option for the future sustainability of motorsport.
The only thing that didn't go our way was the way the race ended for us, which was entirely out of our control. Because we'd proven the technology worked, it was hard to be too disappointed, but we were blown away by the level of support and goodwill that came our way from the fans so now we feel we owe it to them to race again.
I'm very proud that Lucas will get his chance in the car − the GT Academy is a major innovation in motorsport that is making the elitist sport of motor racing genuinely accessible to everyone, including those who do not have access to big budgets and sponsorship. Lucas is living proof that the innovation works.
We're thrilled to welcome Gunnar to the Nissan DeltaWing team. He is a former American Le Mans Series champion and knows Road Atlanta like the back of his hand so he is the perfect addition to the squad."
Creator of the DeltaWing, Ben Bowlby, said: "At Petit Le Mans, we will get the chance to show the US fans just how cool this car is but also the chance to prove that it works on a much tighter, twistier road course, rather than the flat-out, 300kmh, Le Mans-style racetrack. It's important for us to gain in lap experience, testing and driver feedback and really validate the whole concept."
It should definitely be exciting to see the car race stateside, so make sure you catch the race!