DeltaWing Goes Pretty Well, Looks Pretty Weird; Scott Tucker Keeps Rolling

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
deltawing goes pretty well looks pretty weird scott tucker keeps rolling

Yes, that’s a real race car, and it’s expected to turn an LMP2-prototype-level laptime despite having tires that are just four inches wide and a 300-horsepower, four-cylinder, direct-injection-turbo engine.

The DeltaWing is this years “Garage 56” car, meaning a car that isn’t really a LeMans competitor but which demonstrates important technical ideas. It weighs about half of what a regular prototype does and keeps almost all of that weight on the rear wheels. Aero drag, which is critically important at racetrack speeds, is minimized thanks to the unusual profile and cross-section. It doesn’t look anything like a regular “prototype”, and that’s good to hear since the average modern prototype wouldn’t greatly shock anyone who saw one of Jim Hall’s Chaparrals fifty years ago.

It’s laudable that the LeMans folks are letting the DeltaWing run, but a truly brave organization would relax the rules and let stuff like that race for all the marbles, in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. It’s been pointed out again and again that restrictive rules actually increase the cost of professional racing in high-end series, since new ideas are often cheaper than endless, grinding refinement of old ones.

Whatever. We wish the DeltaWing the best of luck. Meanwhile, SCCA National Champion and Daytona Prototype gadabout Scott Tucker has withstood Jalopnik’s puff pieces and full-press hits to run again at LeMans this year. It just goes to show: racing has room for everyone, from dildo-shaped prototypes to check-cashing nouveaus, as long as you bring cash and plenty of it.

Join the conversation
6 of 26 comments
  • Dejal1 Dejal1 on Jun 11, 2012

    Wrong color.

    • Ethan Gaines Ethan Gaines on Jun 11, 2012

      Yeah, it needs to be flesh-coloured; then it would have comedic value to go along with the interesting concept.

  • Raph Raph on Jun 11, 2012

    Damn, I guess the Keaton Batmobile was on to something waaaaay back in 1989 - thats what I think every time I see the DeltaWing. And I really hope it meets or exceeds at LeMans.

  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Jun 12, 2012

    the ACO imposed a speed limit (I think 300 km/h) on the Delta Wing to keep its times competitive with LMP2. very interesting concept. ALMS is talking about letting it compete in either LMP1 or LMP2 next year. That Don Panoz is involved with the project helps that out.

    • Th009 Th009 on Jun 12, 2012

      I've seen no evidence of any such ACO restriction. And ACO is pretty open about its rules. The reduced refueling time alone should give it a substantial advantage over 24 hours.

  • JohnTheDriver JohnTheDriver on Jun 12, 2012

    Why does this car remind me of the BMW-Oracle? Because it's the fastest thing out there and everybody hates it. I suspect too many teams are still amortizing their current crop of Lemans protos to get behind starting over with this gizmo. Still, with this tech Lemans would leapfrog Formula 1.