DeltaWing is a lean, mean, fuel-efficient racing machine

The epic 24-hour Le Mans endurance race on 16 to 17 June will feature a sensational vehicle that may remind you of the Batmobile.

Nissan DeltaWing

(Credit: Nissan)

Engines of over 5 litres are common at the 24-hour endurance race, so how can a team fielding a car with only 1.6 litres attempt to compete? That answer comes in the form of weight reduction and aerodynamics.

The Project 56 group earned a spot in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans race for its DeltaWing concept, a car eschewing horsepower in favour of an advanced body structure favouring airflow and a light weight. Le Mans officials gave the car the 56th spot in the starting grid, a place that has been reserved for experimental cars to compete in the endurance race using a variety of alternative technologies.

The DeltaWing concept will use a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine making around 225kW, approximately half the power of a typical Le Mans competitor. The car uses a slim front end with a much narrower track than the rear, making it easier for the engine to push the car forward.

As required by 24 Hours of Le Mans rules, the car has room for a second occupant next to the driver. Headlights are embedded in the nose and in the rear wheel struts, which are necessary for the night-time laps of the race.

Le Mans rewards cars with better fuel efficiency, requiring fewer refuelling stops. Audi recently exploited this fact of the race by using diesel engines in its race cars.

Since its initial unveiling, the DeltaWing has been updated with official Nissan backing and a fresh black paint job that makes this whip appear like it came from the prototype area of the Batcave. This video from Nissan Europe (below) shows some seriously sexy shots of the car and a dyno run.


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