Nissan’s DeltaWing racecar and the victory that almost wasn’t.
Nissan’s radical looking DeltaWing racecar just won a much-needed victory. The team powered through the competition to a fifth-place finish at last week’s Petit Le Mans. Surprisingly, it’s a win that almost didn’t happen.
During a practice session at Road Atlanta earlier in the week the experimental vehicle made contact with a GTC-class Porsche, causing a roll-over collision and significant damage. Luckily the driver, American Gunnar Jeannette, was unharmed and well enough to participate in the big event. Nissan’s pit crew worked hard to rebuild the DeltaWing before the official race on Saturday.
The car suffered a similar fate earlier in the year at its debut event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was forced out of that competition after just six hours.
Making the DeltaWing’s fifth-place finish all the more impressive is where the team had to start. They were pushed to the back of the 42-car grid to run unclassified as an invitational entry.
Putting the vehicle’s power-to-weight and aerodynamic advantages to good use, Jeannette passed eight other cars on the first lap of the race, a testament to how capable the car’s 1.6-liter engine is.
Spaniard Lucas Ordoñez finished the final 110 laps of the 1,000-mile contest. He crossed the line in sixth place but gained an additional spot because a driver ahead of him was disqualified. This finish marks a significant achievement for both Nissan and the DeltaWing.