Don Panoz

The DeltaWing is a racing car designed by Ben Bowlby that debuted at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The entry will run under the Project 56 name, composed of Ben Bowlby’s DeltaWing Racing Cars (design), Dan Gurney’s All American Racers (constructor), Duncan Dayton’s Highcroft Racing (racing team) and International Motor Sports Association owner Don Panoz (advisor). Nissan’s NISMO division is also assisting in the development of the car.

The project began in 2009, when Bowlby started to design a new IndyCar Series vehicle meant to be in the field starting in the 2012 season. With financial backing from Chip Ganassi, owner of major squad Chip Ganassi Racing, the prototype was unveiled in 2010 at the Chicago Auto Show. Ganassi owns the car and its patents. IndyCar chose a Dallara design instead. Bowlby then worked with Don Panoz to present the idea to representatives from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They applied for and received an invitation to race in the 2012 Le Mans race.

The DeltaWing was designed to reduce aerodynamic drag dramatically, to allow a marginally faster straight and corner speed than a 2009-2011 Dallara IndyCar on both ovals and road/street courses with half as much weight, engine power and fuel consumption. As the name suggests, it has a delta wing shape, with an unusually narrow front track and a more traditional rear track. The car lacks any front or rear wings – downforce comes from the underbody. The engine will be a four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection 300 bhp unit provided by Japanese manufacturer Nissan.

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