DeltaWing Racing Car
One of the most interesting racing car designs in recent years is the DeltaWing.
It was designed as an Indy car when the IRL was looking for a standard chassis. Dallara won that contract, so it looked like the DeltaWing was doomed. Well the other day, they announced that the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has named them as the Project 56 car for next year’s Le Mans race. Project 56 is a new deal where one radical car gets to run in the race without meeting the rules of any of the existing classes. The idea is to highlight new, out-of-the-box automotive design ideas
One of the interesting bits is that Dan Gurney’s All American Racers has signed on to build the car. I met Dan in Gasoline Alley at the 500 in 1981. I was visiting as part of the aerodynamics work I was doing in school for Ensign. It was really cool to meet him. I had really enjoyed reading about his exploits in Road & Track when I was younger.
One of the interesting connections between then and now is that the car his team was running at Indy that year had a very unusual ground effects system. It was shaped like a delta wing! That ‘81 car’s not well remembered now. It failed early in the race, and there was an awful lot of other news at Indy that year. That car wasn’t nearly as radical as this new one. It had a normal, wide front track, for example. But if you squint at the‘81 car, you can kind of see some similarities.
You can find some details on the DeltaWing project here.