DeltaWing: The Future Has Arrived
by Robert Kozak (Advanced Biofuels USA) The future arrived yesterday (March 15, 2012) at about 1:00 pm EDT. It arrived in Sebring, Florida.
As readers of Advanced Biofuels USA’s Green Racing articles know, Ben Bowlby introduced the DeltaWing concept in 2010 with the battle cry, “Half the weight, half the horsepower, half the fuel consumption, same performance.” The naysayers scoffed, and the folks who run the Indianapolis 500 said no. This was but a temporary setback.
The innovative French people who run the legendary, and exceptionally grueling, 24 Hours of Le Mans said yes. “Build it,” they said in June of 2011, “and it will have a place at the start in June 2012.” One year to turn a daring concept into car that will go safely 200 mph?
Racing legend and 1967 Le Mans winner Dan Gurney said it must, and would be done. He turned all the resources of his company, All American Racers over to the DeltaWing project. Nissan joined up with a stock based 1.6L engine as did Michelin tires.
The shroud came off. There it was. Black carbon. Room for two. A narrow front with tiny tires. No wings or other appendages that clutter modern Formula One race cars and their kin. It looked simple, really. Sort of like a SR-71 Blackbird built for the road.
Team driver Marino Franchetti put on his helmet and got in the car like everything was normal. The engine fired up. Wait. Where’s the roar? Aren’t high performance racers loud and ferocious sounding? Remember what Ben Bolwby had said about half the power? The 4-cylinder Nissan turbocharged, direct injected engine with variable valve timing (yes it’s one of those “eco” type engines) sounded like a Nissan Juke with the muffler off. The engineers looked at the computer screens and said all systems were go.
And go it went. Into the future. READ MORE
(Our Green Racing guy, Bob Kozak, will return from the future to the present soon to give us a complete rundown on DeltaWing and what it means for everyone who had anything to do with cars or fuels.)