- The new closed-cockpit version of the revolutionary DeltaWing racecar is on display at Sebring International Raceway ahead of Saturday's Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race.
- The coupe is described as "a no-brainer for safety," by DeltaWing Racing Cars.
- The open-cockpit version will compete in LMP1 in Saturday's race.
SEBRING, Florida — The new closed-cockpit version of the revolutionary DeltaWing racecar is on display at Sebring International Raceway ahead of Saturday's Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race.
The tricycle-shaped car, with ultra-narrow configuration of the front wheels, debuted in roadster format at last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans as the experimental entry added to the 55-car field.
Don Panoz's Elan Motorsports Technologies is continuing development of the car and fielding it in competition.
The open-cockpit car will compete Saturday in the Le Mans Prototype 1 class, the top category, with drivers Andy Meyrick and Olivier Pla.
A showcar version of the DeltaWing coupe is on display at Sebring. It features a new tub and wider driver greenhouse, among other new modifications from last year's experimental entry to make it compliant with 2014 LMP1 regulations.
The driver's position is in the center of the cockpit, rather than the conventional left or right in a two-seat configuration. Not only does it distinguish the car visibly and in perception, it adds safety, according to Elan Motorsports engineer Simon Marshall.
"It's best for us to put the driver in the middle to protect them," Marshall said. "It's going to be good for visibility as well."
The car will debut in the American Le Mans Series later this year, possibly as early as at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May, according to DeltaWing Racing Cars.
Both the new coupe and the roadster competing at Sebring will feature a new Elan Motorsports Technology 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The entry last year at Le Mans was in partnership with Nissan's Nismo division, which provided the powertrain, and Dan Gurney's All-American Racers Group.
The triangular-shaped car was developed as a prototype for the new IndyCar chassis by car designer Ben Bowlby. After IndyCar chose Dallara as its chassis supplier for 2012 and beyond, the DeltaWing was left in limbo, but received an invitation from Le Mans as the 56th car in the field for the famous 24-hour race.
It ran respectably, but was eliminated after only 75 laps when it was punted off course by another car.
Edmunds says: Last year's Le Mans effort had the novelty of the car, plus the credibility of Gurney and Nismo to help it. Now that it has proven to have a measure of competitive capability, it's up to the Panoz team to show that the car can be a contender, and not just an odd-looking vehicle.