Tag Archives: Nissan Deltawing

The Future is Electric

With the off season fast approaching in the northern hemisphere we’ll soon be left with nothing but planning left to do for the future, and as FIA Formula E promo video says: The Future is Electric!

I love the concept of this new type of racing. I mean any racing is good racing, but electric is neat as hell. It’s different, it’s relevant and hopefully it will encourage more people to actually become fans, as the fan base for traditional racing is dropping off at an alarming rate, whether here in North America, the Pacific, Asia or the rest of the world.

Sports cars are my favorite type of race cars even more so than open wheelers, and what do you know? There’s an electric entry in next year’s Le Mans 24 hour garage 56 as well. Making its second debut, after the short lived Nissan DeltaWing project that has now morphed into a more problematic and much uglier looking Elon DeltaWing coupes in ALMS – err United SportsCar Series, the Nissan ZEOD brings sexy back!

I’ve got to see the plastic version in person at this year’s Le Mans, next to that cool looking Nissan ZEOD LEAF racer. And they’re just very sleek looking race cars. I know they’ll go like hell too. I once had a Mini Cooper E that my old job was testing for BMW. Though I only had it for the weekend the power and the notion of instant, on demand acceleration and speed in that car was incredible. The idea that Formula E will run on city streets that will feature remote charging lanes for eventual introduction of electric buses on those same streets is brilliant. Even though we as marshals will probably have to use full body KERS suits, like the gloves we already use in Formula 1 (which by the way has contributed much of the technology for Formula E via Renault and Williams and McLaren) it should  be an interesting time to be a part of it!

I want to see more!

DeltaWing @ Petit Le Mans

One of the coolest cars in the line up this Petit Le Mans was undoubtedly the DeltaWing. Designed but rejected for IndyCar series, funded by a big name in NASCAR/Grand Am: Chip Ganassi, with input from Don Panoz of American Le Mans fame, the car is like nothing else on the track today. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeltaWing) It made its debut in the 24hr of Le Mans this year, crashed out… then crashed out again in Petit Le Mans practice. But once it finally raced in the 10 hour enduro it sparcled, finishing 5th overall!
Looking forward to seeing it again next year!

PS. the part where he says they would have been leading the race had they got passarounds and such, is absolutely true. The car ran very strong.

Petit Le Mans – ALMS season finale @ Road Atlanta

I faced a real dilemma deciding whether to jump on the opportunity to go to Korea for the F1 GP. Fortunately after quickly checking flights for the return trip, I realized I could have my cake and eat it too… You see I had already made plans to go to Road Atlanta for the 15th annual Petit Le Mans, the deciding race of the American Le Mans series. Going to Korea meant that I would miss a big chunk of that racing, luckily thanks to good availability with American Airlines AAdvantage, I was able to arrive just in time for ALMS practice.

Besides the flights, my major concern was cost of rental car and accommodation. Luckily Sixt came through big time. While all other car rental companies, including Sixt, were showing rates in the $30 a day range, there was a promo at Sixt for $19.99 Chevy Cruze in select cities, including Atlanta airport. Luck like this doesn’t happen to me often, I jumped on the deal saving a significant chunk of money. Similarly, CouchSurfing came through as I found a host in Gainsville, Georgia just twelve miles away from the track.

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The racing itself was spectacular. In addition to the usual suspects, a number of teams came from Europe bringing with them beautiful prototypes I haven’t seen in action before. Several teams from France, UK, Ireland and Switzerland were represented, including a gorgeous Lotus prototype that set the pole and won the race, giving the Muscle Milk #6 a good run for the money (had it not been crashed out by the #34 Green Hornet Porsche, it would have probably won though… the same Green Hornet that smashed the #0 Deltawing making it rollover in free practice).

The most interesting part about Petit Le Mans was the fact that it was an endurance race. My previous longest race was a Six Hour at the Glen for Grand Am series, Petit Le Mans was 10 hours or 1,000 miles, going well into the night where the only lights on the circuit often enough were those from the cars. It was super cool blue flagging the race in the dark, trying to make out the prototypes vs. GT’s and keeping track who’s in the lead. But I quickly got the hang of it, which surprised even myself.

I had a really wonderful time meeting a lot of new people from the Atlanta Region, many employees of Road Atlanta with lots of experience working for Panoz whom recently sold the ALMS series to Grand Am/NASCAR. It was quite interesting to chat with them on what the future of sports car racing in US has in store. I’m looking forward to go back to this track for sure, after driving around a few times it really is amazing, the elevation changes rival those of Mosport in Canada .