Nissan pulls out of DeltaWing project
TopGear’s favourite Le Mans racer loses carmaker’s backing, may get closed cockpit
TopGear is quite fond of the Nissan DeltaWing, that Batmobile-esque racer that basically won over everyone at last year's Le Mans 24hr race.
So it comes as a shock to tell you it is now just the DeltaWing. No Nissan. The motorsport arm of the Japanese carmaker yesterday announced it is to terminate its involvement in the revolutionary racecar project.
Taking to Twitter, Nissan Motorsport confirmed the rumours of its exit, saying "yes folks, it's true. We had a blast with DeltaWing and will always have a major soft spot for that car.
"Nissan wishes Dr Don Panoz and all the other partners involved in the DeltaWing all the best for the future." Nissan Motorsport boss Darren Cox added that the company is "committed to developing innovative and exciting cars both on the track and on the road".
What does this mean for the future of DeltaWing then? According to the chaps over at SpeedTV, DeltaWing Racing Cars principal Panoz - who's been involved in DeltaWing since the very beginning - is working on a new 2.0-litre Mazda engine, ditching the RML-tuned Nissan 1.6-litre that you find in the Juke. There's a twin-turbo setup producing 345bhp at the moment, while there are also plans to make it a closed cockpit design.
But it seems the project will take a while to seep out of Nissan's skin. "We loved every minute of the Nissan DeltaWing experience," added Cox. "Don Panoz is very courageous and bold," he said, "but it's going to be really tough."
We'll find out in due course what the next step is for the DeltaWing, but we'll keep you updated. After all, we did drive the actual DeltaWing sometime ago...