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Sebring Notes: Delta Wing Car To Use Nissan Engines

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 13 2012

Nissan engines will power the radical new Delta Wing car it was announced Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of the American Le Mans Series)


The DeltaWing racing car that will debut at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will be powered by Nissan it was announced Tuesday in London.

A race-prepared 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, featuring direct petrol injection and a turbocharger, will power the Nissan DeltaWing, which is half the weight and has half the aerodynamic drag of a conventional racer.

The car was unveiled by DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby and Nissan Head of Brand Strategy in Europe, Darren Cox at today’s function which was also attended by project Managing Partner Don Panoz and Highcroft Racing’s Duncan Dayton whose team will run the car.

The DeltaWing project brings together Bowlby, Panoz, Dayton and Dan Gurney’s All American Racers organization who built the car.

Driver Marino Franchitti was also on-site along with the newly announced second driver – Nissan’s reigning FIA GT Champion, German, Michael Krumm.

The DeltaWing will have its first public outing on Thursday, March 15 at Sebring International Raceway at 12:30pm in an event hosted by project tire partner, Michelin. The famed Florida venue hosts the opening round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championship this Saturday, March 17.

Audi Sport Team Joest’s Allan McNish set the best time of Monday’s opening test for the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The three-time winner of America’s greatest sports car race set a time of 1:47.187 (125.612 mph) in the Audi R18 he will share with Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen.

McNish led a trio of Audis at the top of the time sheets Monday afternoon. The R18 of Marcel Faessler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Tréluyer sat just 0.667 seconds back. The reigning Le Mans 24 Hours winners were ahead of Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval; their car set a best time of 1:48.294 (124.328 mph).

“It is very difficult with the traffic,” Capello said. “There are more cars that Petit Le Mans last year but also the track is longer. I would say it will be the same difficulty. The more challenging part here at Sebring is that you go off line much more than Road Atlanta, and the pickup is much worse – dirt, grass and other bits on the tires. It’s very difficult to get that pickup off the tires.”

This year’s Sebring race marks the opening round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the new FIA World Endurance Championship. Muscle Milk Pickett Racing’s HPD ARX-03a of Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Simon Pagenaud led the ALMS contingent at 1:50.231 (122.143 mph) – good enough for fourth on the day

Level 5 Motorsports, the defending P2 champion at Sebring and in the ALMS, was quickest in class with its HPD ARX-03b prototype. The car of Scott Tucker, Luis Diaz and Ryan Hunter-Reay turned a lap of 1:52.055 (120.155 mph) that put it nearly 1.5 seconds ahead of the sister car.

The second Level 5 HPD of Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa was at 1:53.538 (118.586 mph) and sat 0.782 seconds clear of Greaves Motorsports’ Zytek-Nissan.

In GT, Luxury Racing went quickest with its Ferrari F458 GT. The car – driven by Frédéric Makowiecki, Jaime Melo and Jean-Karl Verne\ay – posted a lap of 2:00.830 (111.429 mph) and led two of the ALMS’ stalwarts by 0.632 seconds.

Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long and Marco Holzer set the second-fastest time in the class at 2:01.155 (111.130 mph). Corvette Racing’s Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Richard Westbrook was third, just 0.307 seconds behind their Porsche rivals.

Dempsey Racing led Prototype Challenge with a lap of 1:55.540 (116.531 mph) in the ORECA FLM09 driven by Henri Richard, Duncan Ende and Dane Cameron. Performance Tech’s trio of Anthony Nicolosi, Ricardo Vera and Raphael Matos was just 0.187 seconds back; PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ trio of Ken Dobson, Butch Leitzinger and Rudy Junco was third at 1:55.917 (116.152 mph).

Luxury Racing also held the top spot in GTE Am with the Ferrari of Pierre Ehret, Dominik Farnbacher and Francois Jakubowski setting a time of 2:02.893 (109.559 mph). Team Felbermayr-Proton’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Christian Ried, Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti sat second and just 0.377 seconds behind the class-leading Ferrari.

In GT Challenge, Green Hornet Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Peter LeSaffre, Damien Faulkner and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen went fastest at 2:06.899 (106.100 mph). That time put the Green Hornet racer 0.256 seconds ahead of NGT Motorsport’s trio of Sean Edwards, Henrique Cisneros and Carlos Kauffmann.

Alex Job Racing’s Porsche of Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen and LP Dumoulin was a further 0.325 seconds back.

Tuesday’s testing is set to begin at 11:50 a.m. ET.

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 13 2012
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