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Delta Wing Adds A Third Driver For Le Mans

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Thursday, April 26 2012

The revolutionary Delta Wing car tests at Snetterton. (Photo courtesy of Highcroft Racing)

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Nissan and NISMO Japanese Super GT star Satoshi Motoyama has joined the Nissan DeltaWing driving squad for this summer’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

A triple Japanese Super GT champion, Motoyama will co-drive with Marino Franchitti of Scotland and German Michael Krumm, who won the 2003 JGTC (formerly SUPER GT) title with Motoyama.

The Nissan DeltaWing is an experimental project that aims to change endurance racing by attempting to complete the twice-around-the-clock French classic using half the fuel and half the tires.

Motoyama was scheduled get his first taste of the innovative Nissan DeltaWing car at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk, United Kingdom, on Thursday. Testing will continue in France and Spain next month, before the official ACO pre-Le Mans test on June 3. The race is scheduled for June 16-17.

“I am very excited about joining the Nissan DeltaWing project for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours,” Motoyama said in a statement. “For me, it will be the first Le Mans 24 Hours since 1999, but I am fully ready to race at La Sarthe this year.

”Nissan DeltaWing is very innovative and beyond any racing technical regulations; we will run in the discretionary “Garage 56″ class at Le Mans, where no classification will be given. But there will be no disappointment and compromise, since our aim for this project is to prove this innovative racing technology and demonstrate the future of motorsports. It will be a truly challenging and exciting experience for me and the team.”

The experimental nature of the Nissan DeltaWing project presents an enormous challenge to the engineering team. Designer Ben Bowlby, American motorsport entrepreneur Don Panoz, Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers organization and Duncan Dayton’s Highcroft Racing team created the DeltaWing prototype. The car will be powered by Nissan’s specially-developed 1.6-litre DIG-T engine, just 101 days after hitting the racetrack for the first time.

Motoyama is a longtime Nissan driver, having first raced for the manufacturer in 1996. He has posted more SUPER GT championship titles, race wins and series points than any driver in the history of the category. He currently shares the NISMO No. 23 Nissan GT-R with DeltaWing teammate Krumm.

“We are very proud of our association with Nissan in this high-technology assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Panoz, managing partner of DeltaWing Project 56. “Nissan has a great reputation as an innovator in the auto industry and their participation with the drivers is very welcome. We are thrilled to welcome Motoyama-san to our driver lineup for Le Mans. He is massively experienced, and given the fact he is already working with Michael Krumm in SUPER GT in Japan, it makes for a perfect fit. They will make a great combination with Marino Franchitti.”

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Thursday, April 26 2012
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