You are here
The Deltawing road car is coming
If you’re familiar with the Deltawing, you should also be familiar with our great love for it.
The original, Ben Bowlby-designed, Nissan-emblazoned racer won the hearts of all who saw its ultimately ill-fated outing at the 2012 Le Mans 24-hour race. And although the Japanese carmaker withdrew from the project a year later, the Deltawing is far from dead. In fact, it’s to become a road car.
Yep, really. Deltawing Racing Cars, fronted by Don Panoz, continues to campaign the now closed-roof prototype in America, where it competes in the United SportsCar Championship endurance series.
And the company recently confirmed that development of Deltawing road cars is in full swing. Road cars of far greater technical importance and competence than our own Deltawing, we must regretfully admit.
So what shape will they take? Well, a two-seat GT concept has been confirmed for 2015, and is what we’ll see first. It’ll be fast, but not daftly powerful: that ultra-slippery Deltawing shape negates the need for tons of power.
“It will be designed to demonstrate that with far less horsepower than many of today’s best sports cars, a two-seat performance car based on the Deltawing architecture would deliver the same performance, yet with previously unimagined fuel economy and efficiency,” we’re told.
Such enthusiasm for fuel-sipping wouldn’t typically pique our interest, but with such intrinsic links to the racing car - just look at the renders and patented drawings above - we can’t help but prick our ears up.
Smaller power needs are the direct result of reduced mass, both from a front end significantly slimmer than the norm, and the reduced componentry that goes with it, while there ought to be less wear on brakes and tyres too.
The patent drawings that have made it online so far show two different designs. One appears to be merely the racing car with its decals ripped off (and even a roof scoop still intact), while the second, currently less resolved design is something with a bit of convention woven in.
There are rear windows, pretty standard doors adorned with wing mirrors and what looks to be a less pronounced disparity between front and rear track widths. There’s a humongous tail fin, mind, so it’s still crackers enough.
Perhaps more crackers, though, is that ambitions extend beyond a two-seat sports car. The company plans a four-seat prototype, too, with calculations suggesting a 138bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine would see it yield 68mpg fuel economy. The company points out that electric, hybrid, gas and fuel cell powertrains could all be used, as well as conventional petrol and diesel transverse engines.
Quite how much a road going Deltawing would cost, and how practical it would be with a mid-mounted engine and such a minimal front end (and therefore space at a premium), are questions that can’t be answered yet. Nor do we have any idea how Euro NCAP might feel about it. But the fact we’re even able to consider such issues is exciting enough.
What do you reckon? And what would you like to see from a showroom-spec Deltawing?