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DeltaWing poised for production?

Trike-like race car architecture said to be adaptable to road car design

Published: May 28, 2014, 7:00 AM
Updated: November 22, 2021, 4:14 PM

DeltaWing Four-Passenger rendering

One of the more interesting race car designs of recent years has been the DeltaWing prototype that raced as an experimental entry at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013, and continues to race in IMSA's United SportsCar Championship.

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While it is a four-wheeler, the front track is so narrow that it gives the impression of being a trike. The advantages, according to its proponents, are low aerodynamic drag and low weight, which enable equivalent performance with a smaller more fuel-efficient engine.

The race car has been marginally competitive but far from a runaway success. Nevertheless, Nissan, which sponsored and cooperated with the car's original designers, has developed a car of its own called the ZEOD that incorporates the same concepts and is scheduled to race at Le Mans this year.

Now, DeltaWing Technologies is trying to take the concept from the track to the road, revealing a rendering of a four-passenger DeltaWing for the street. Using the DeltaWing's unique design architecture and lightweight technologies would achieve significantly improved fuel economy, the company says.

It could deliver any given performance level with significantly reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional automobiles, according to its promoters.

DeltaWing says it doesn't plan to manufacture the car independently but rather to partner with mass-market auto companies that share its vision.

"While we certainly have the capabilities and decades of auto manufacturing experience through our affiliates Panoz LLC and Elan Motorsports Technologies, the DeltaWing deserves the higher volume that an OEM can provide to truly have a beneficial impact on the future and the environment," said Al Speyer, DeltaWing Technologies president and COO.

"Many of the aerodynamic, lightweight and handling benefits of the race car can translate to the street," said Don Panoz, chairman of DeltaWing Technologies Inc. "We are competing at the highest levels of road racing with half the weight, half the horsepower, and nearly half of the fuel consumption.

We believe we can deliver similar results on the street without compromising safety, comfort and performance."

Company executives are said to have been meeting with auto manufacturers that support the goal of bringing the DeltaWing®vehicle architecture and its lightweight and efficiency technologies to road cars to help meet the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard of 54.5 mpg (US) (4.32 L/100 km) by model year 2025.

DeltaWing Technologies Inc. is based in the North Metro-Atlanta community of Braselton and is part of a technology group that includes Elan Technologies, Elan Composites, Elan Precision Products, Elan Power Products, and Panoz LLC.