Delta Wing Returns?


Following its plucky, well-received debut at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, news about the revolutionary DeltaWing dried up so quickly that some in the industry suspected its debut might also be its finale. But according to unofficial sources, negotiations are underway for the DeltaWing to do just what managing partner and American Le Mans Series founder Donald Panoz at Le Mans said the odd-looking racer might do: Compete, likely in a class of its own, at the ALMS season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October. A track which, incidentally, Panoz has owned since 1996. Panoz was not available immediately for an interview, but rumors persist that negotiations continue between the DeltaWing partners, engine supplier Nissan and DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby to bring the DeltaWing back to the U.S. At the moment, it remains in Europe and has been repaired of the damage caused when it was hit by a wayward Toyota in the race. If the car races at Petit, it will possibly use the same driver lineup from Le Mans, led by development pilot Marino Franchitti. The decision needs to be made quickly. The 1,000-mile race is scheduled for Oct. 17-20, which is—as shown by a rolling countdown clock posted at —less than 57 days away. The light, nimble, four-cylinder DeltaWing should work exceptionally well at Road Atlanta, which has enough tight turns and short straights that it doesn’t automatically favor higher-horsepower cars. The DeltaWing’s presence would also give Petit Le Mans a shot in the arm, since the race won’t have the Audi-Peugeot prototype battle that made headlines in 2011. The DeltaWing group has also submitted a design to the Izod IndyCar Series for the next generation of Indy Lights race car, which is supposed to change from the current, aging Dallara to something new in 2014.

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