The DeltaWing Revisited

The DeltaWing Revisited 

by Mike Kojima

We first took a look at the famous and controversial Elan Delta Wing a couple of years ago.  At the time the car was a super radical departure from the norm that made headlines all around the world. If you have been living under a rock for the past few years, the DeltaWing is the brainchild of Ben Bowlby whose design concept is that less is more.  

The DeltaWing is designed to go as fast as a conventional Prototype with half the power, half the fuel consumption, half the weight and half the drag. We found the car as very interesting but somewhat crude and unsorted as the transition of the car from a somewhat hodgepodge Nissan branded effort to being taken under the wing of Elan cars was not complete.

Now the car's concept is much more mature and it is worth taking another look at it.  In 2014, the P1 rules were changed and all P cars were required to have a closed cockpit and out of necessity the DeltaWing Coupe was born. The car's development continued and the car was now competitive, even leading races. 

For 2016 there is the third version of the DeltaWing competing with further refinements. Let's take a look at it and you can compare it with our look at the first version of the car.

The DeltaWing Version 1

 

We caught up with the DeltaWing at the Long Beach Grand Prix in the pits.  Part of the design premise of the DeltaWing is its tiny, lightweight and compact design which is super apparent here. The DeltaWing has a super narrow front track and tiny front wheels as 70 percent of the car's weight is on the rear wheels.  

The car's design premise is, with so little weight on the front wheels, the rear wheels do the most of the braking, driving and cornering work.  The front wheels are there just to point the chassis in the direction it needs to go.

 
The DeltaWing is very polarizing with fans, many love the car with its revolutionary, ground breaking concepts that are a rethinking of how a race car works and some hate it.  We think that the car was not so innovative and the design was stolen from a Saturday Night Live concept that was originated many years ago. Here is a rendering of that car.
The DeltaWing sits in the pits with its bodywork removed.  The poles on the front and rear of the car are string fixtures for setting up the chassis. The aluminum plates bolted to the hubs are to help measure camber, caster and toe steer. 
The DeltaWing features modular construction.  The front module is a carbon structure that contains the front suspension.  The front module can be unbolted from the main tub of the car and replaced quickly. This greatly speeds the time it takes to repair the car even if it has been subjected to a serious crash. 

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