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Sports Cars 13

Delta Wing race car takes shape

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.

sports cars  Delta Wing race car takes shape

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.”

sports cars  Delta Wing race car takes shape

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.”

Add your comments

13 comments on Delta Wing race car takes shape

  1. Iberian M.P.H., 26 December 2011 09:16

    DG – a true legend and a very user-friendly person. Wish AAR all the best for Le Mans 2012.

    Suppose racing cars of the future will be somewhat different from what we know today. Exciting stuff.

  2. Toby Coulson, 27 December 2011 12:18

    Just looks so wrong to me.

  3. Ray T, 27 December 2011 18:08

    This is the most important project in racing right now. Finally, we see an attempt at true innovation which really hasn’t been seen in a decade in formula or sports car racing. This is ambitious, and the car will be very difficult to develop.
    My concern right now is that this car hasn’t yet turned a wheel. It’s all just CAD drawings and simulations. They were supposed to be testing by December…but they don’t have an engine deal yet? hmmm.

  4. Carlos Sanchez, 29 December 2011 22:49

    Refreshing to see a new outfit with an entirely new and different car/approach to Le Mans racing, though I must confess to have reservations about its performance in real racing on track.
    On the plus side I have the the feeling it might reveal a dragster on acceleration in straight line speed but maintained high speed stability and cornering might be a different story (with aerodynamic pressure moving fore/aft with such shape plus such a narrow track at front )…
    I hope I’m wrong for I wish Dan Gurney, Phil Remington and company all the success possible for their effort which constitutes an injection of new blood to motor racing.

  5. Kevin Woeller, 30 December 2011 00:44

    Interesting to see such a new concept since the Jim Hall Chaparral 2 series of race cars!

  6. aleksi salonen, 30 December 2011 06:55

    It’s nice they’re making progress. The engine choice is a huge deal and I hope they’ll find a partner who truly understands the ethos and technical demands of this vehicle. All the best and season’s greetings for the team.

  7. @bonedwarf, 1 January 2012 00:02

    All for innovation etc… But my god that thing is ugly.

    In a way I hope it fails, simply because if it does really well, we’ll see more of these aesthetic atrocities.

  8. Greg Conchelos, 1 January 2012 17:32

    Nice, interesting. I sometimes think, however, that we have put more and more between driver and machine. Why not do some “retro” articles that open up a reconsideration of breaking that down.For instance, get rid of the shift paddles and gear automation in general and go back to manual shifting. And do not let anyone say that one hand on the wheel makes thing less safe. There is (was) a heritage of the driver as “in charge” that is getting lost, regardless of the new shape of the car. Excellent mag as always
    Dr. Greg Conchelos USA in Canada

  9. Nigel (not that one), 3 January 2012 00:10

    F1 hasn’t been truely beautiful since the mid nineties, the new indycars are munters and this things trying to change the shape of sportscars. Is it too much to ask to have a racing car that makes me drool again?

  10. dave cubbedge, 3 January 2012 17:02

    I am looking forward to seeing this thing in the corners. Somehow I can’t picture it going around a corner…..

  11. Andrew, 4 January 2012 10:08

    Three cheers to innovation and hopefully another three for success! Please keep us posted with these interesting developments with engine decisions and testing vids–@ bonedwarf- we see your new year’s resolution has failed on day one!

  12. Mitch Palmer, 13 January 2012 16:35

    Someone’s put an extra front wheel on a Bond Bug ……….

  13. Ralph Averill, 24 January 2012 09:20

    I’m not an engineer but I don’t see how this thing can corner at speed without lifting the inside rear wheel, perhaps even flipping over. It looks like a dragster.

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