DeltaWing: From Unique Race Car to Fuel-Efficient Road Car

The DeltaWing, originally a race car constructed by All American Racers, will be hitting the streets in an all new fuel-efficient road car model.

Don Panoz, chairman of the exquisite custom car firm Panoz Motors, announced that his company will soon build road versions of the DeltaWing race car. The company hopes to license its designs to automakers in order to manufacture a far lighter and more fuel-efficient vehicle than anything sold today.

The DeltaWing Backstory

The DeltaWing made its debut at the 2012 24-Hour Le Mans endurance race. Ben Bowlby, a name recognized among automotive technicians, designed the DeltaWing to dramatically reduce aerodynamic drag, allowing faster straight and corner speed with half the weight, engine power and fuel consumption. The breaking system is also about half the weight of the system in a normal race car.

As the name suggests, it has a delta wing shape with a radically narrow nose and more conventionally spaced rear end.

Panoz Motors

The exclusive custom car company was founded in 1988, and is about as American as you can get. About a year after the birth of Panoz Motors, they released their first model: the 1990 Roadster.

The company is known for being a low-production manufacturer, with each automobile being hand crafted and rigorously tested before the keys get tossed to the new owner.

In 1997 the company decided to enter the racing world to gain better recognition. What set Panoz apart from other manufacturers was that they strived to keep their road cars as close to their racing versions as possible. The next model to come out of the Panoz plant was the Esperante with its racing version: the GTR-1. It was entered into the famous 24 Hours Le Mans.

Panoz has become a household name in luxury performance vehicles among dealers, collectors and even those attending mechanic colleges. Throughout the years they have accomplished feats such as moving the Le Mans race across the ocean into America in 1998 (where they dominated), opening up a racing school in 1998 and the development and release of another successful model – the Esperante (2000). In 2006 Panoz took the gold in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the GT2 class with an Esperante GTLM.

The Four Seat Concept

What’s in store for the road car? Don Panoz has been meeting with car companies to figure out fresh technology to help the DeltaWing meet its efficiency and economy targets.

“Many of the aerodynamic, lightweight and handling benefits of the race car can translate to the street,” said Panoz. His vision? All the benefits of the two seat Le Mans racer have been transferred into this four-seat concept.

The narrow-track front means skinny tires. The design involves a rear engine targeted as a gas powered four-cylinder, developing between 85hp to 110hp. A rear engine means the center of gravity will be pushed further back, producing less weight on the front axle. This is said to reduce rolling resistance and boost fuel efficiency.

As for performance, Panoz wants his four-door DeltaWing to accelerate from 0-60mph in six seconds, top out at 130mph and go 70 miles on every gallon of fuel. Anyone aspiring to a career in auto must be curious what it would be like to work on one of these!

Take a look at the DeltaWing in action here:

Do you think manufacturers can be successful making road versions of popular race cars?

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