The revolutionary DeltaWing coupe saw its first on-track action Tuesday and Wednesday in a successful initial shakedown at Roebling Road Raceway.
Designed by Simon Marshall and built by Élan Motorsports Technologies, the coupe is an evolution of the open-top spyder version of the DeltaWing, conforming to the 2014 ACO/FIA regulation that prototype cockpits shall be enclosed. Marshall was understandably proud of the car’s stellar performance in its maiden outing, with its new engine layout potentially curing the temperature issues experienced by the spyder version.
“The new engine installation is all about better cooling, while giving us easier access to the exhaust and turbo systems,” said Marshall. “We added an air intake on the roof which increased the cooling air by 50 percent, repackaged where the turbo and intercooler sit and installed a bigger oil cooler, which is all definitely working. The windscreen, the doors, all the new parts all did what they are supposed to do. It was a successful day.”
Driver Katherine Legge was encouraged by the coupe’s performance on its first day, but admits that the closed cockpit will take a little getting used to.
“Everything went really well,” said Legge. “The boys have worked extremely hard to get everything together and they’ve done a tremendous job. There are some little nuances and characteristics that are different with this car compared to the spyder version, but it looks super cool. It’s slightly different visually with the closed cockpit, the pillars and the curved windscreen, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Andy and I will have to figure out the quickest way to do driver changes!
“We’re really positive and psyched for the race at Circuit of the Americas in two weeks. I’ll be excited to see everyone’s reaction – it’s going to be attention grabbing!”
DeltaWing manager partner Dr. Don Panoz has guided the coupe from design to its successful first day and he, too, was quick to appreciate the coupe’s evolution.
“We’re delighted that that coupe has had a successful day of testing,” said Panoz. “The coupe provides extra space in the engine bay, which appears to have cured our engine heat problems. The car seems to be handling as well as it did without the top so we’re looking forward to seeing it in competition.”
That opportunity will come in two weeks at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, when the American Le Mans Series joins the World Endurance Championship for a unique international sports car double header September 19-22.