Following its race-ending crash at Le Mans, the DeltaWing racer suffered a 7g collision during practice sessions for the Petit Le Mans.
You can't win a race if you don't make it to the finish line. It doesn't matter, after all, how fast your car is or how fast you drive it if it breaks down or you crash it before the end of the race. That's what the team behind the DeltaWing project is learning the hard way after suffering another devastating crash in an endurance race. The basic idea behind the DeltaWing is that you could make a racing car go just as fast by cutting weight and fitting a smaller engine, but you'd need to completely redesign the car's shape.
The result is a radical design that looks more like a three-wheeled rocket than it does any existing sanctioned racing car, even though it has four wheels and an internal-combustion engine just like any other. The project is a joint effort between Nissan's racing division, ALMS founder Dan Panoz, multiple ALMS champions Highcroft Racing and former American F1 legend Dan Gurney's All-American Racers. It was originally developed as a proposal for the IndyCar Series, which ultimately passed on the proposal in favor of a more conventional design from Dallara.
However the DeltaWing team succeeded in getting its car to Le Mans this year as an experimental entry. Unfortunately the result was less than satisfactory when it was taken out of the race in a crash with Toyota's TS030 Hybrid LMP1. The team has tried to make another go of it at Road Atlanta for the endurance race known as the Petit Le Mans, but we're sorry to report that the venture is going no better this time. During practise sessions, the DeltaWing was running just 4/10ths of a second off the pace set by the fastest LMP2 car (the class to which the DeltaWing could be most readily compared).
Unfortunately a shunt with a Porsche 911 impacted the DeltaWing by a forceful 7Gs and took the car out of the session. The team hopes to repair the car and get it back out on the track tomorrow in time for the next practice session, after which it will hopefully qualify for and perform well in the race itself. (Crash photos by Charles Howse, courtesy of Nissan.)