The first picture of the radical new Delta Wing race car has been issued from its base at All American Racers in California, USA.
We previewed the Delta Wing Le Mans project in the December issue of Motor Sport, explaining the theory behind one of the most exciting racing cars we’ve seen in years which is set to fill the 56th grid slot reserved for technically innovative machines at La Sarthe next year.
Following the completion of a prototype machine, work on the actual race car is proceeding, but inevitably problems have been encountered in completing the design details and building something that’s truly revolutionary.
Speaking about the project, designer Ben Bowlby said: “It’ll probably be the end of January before we’re ready to go testing because we’ve had a few things come up that we’ve had to handle. But none of them were serious problems, just things you encounter when you’re doing an entirely new project.
“We’re flat out getting all the CFD and simulation work and crash test stuff done. So much of getting a new car on the track is almost a paperwork exercise. Of course safety criteria have to be met and that’s not a simple thing – the whole process of negotiating and performing the crash test and the multiple layers involved with things like the steering column and selection of the steering wheel.
“And we’ve got to build everything for this car – the wheels, the brakes. Everything is half the weight and pretty much half the size and most of those pieces are hi-tech and made from scratch.”
John Ward (on the left) with Simon Marshall leaning over his shoulder. Simon is an ex-Lola engineer who designed Champ Car’s Panoz DP01 spec car, raced in 2007. He was recruited to the Delta Wing project by Ben Bowlby. John has worked off and on for AAR for more than 30 years and was responsible for the unique 1981 Eagle-Chevy and the very successful Toyota IMSA GTP cars of the early nineties.
Bowlby is delighted to be working with Dan Gurney and his AAR team, including long-time engineer John Ward. “Dan is a real racer, this project would not have happened without him. I’ve learned a lot from him and John Ward.”
Master fabricator Phil Remington, who has been with AAR since 1968, used to work for Lance Reventlow’s Scarab team and Carroll Shelby’s Cobra and Ford GT40 operations, and is renowned as one of the finest craftsmen in the business.
“Phil is creating beautiful components for the Delta Wing and has plenty of strong opinions about design, techniques and functionality,” said Bowlby. “He’s in his mid-eighties, and I think there are a lot of guys in the shop who are not only better because of Rem’s presence but because they aspire to achieve like him.”
Bowlby added that the Delta Wing team is closing in on an engine deal. “These things take time. Anyone who’s seriously interested wants to look at it in meticulous detail and that’s been taking place. It’s all coming together.”