Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Farce And Failure Of The DeltaWing

I’ve had a couple of guest posts on this blog and here is another. The background here begins with a years long discussion of the Deltawing Racing Program on a motorsports related message board that I frequent. The members of this board are a pretty tech-savvy lot and have highly tuned BS detection faculties. Over the years we’ve watched this program and marveled, not at it’s achievements but that it continues to exist despite an utter lack of them. Matt Miller explains further herein……

The Farce and Failure of the DeltaWing

A Guest Post By Matt Miller

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans included some amazing technology and competition among very different LMP1 prototypes.  It also included the first racing of the Nissan GTR-LM, a car designed by Ben Bowlby that is waaaay outside the box.  Against this backdrop, it’s a good time to re-examine another Bowlby design that also diverged severely from general practice: the DeltaWing.  To eliminate all suspense, I will say at the outset that this car is both a miserable failure and a farce.  Now, let’s see why.

IndyCar Roots

To understand the DeltaWing (DW), you have to understand the original intention of the car in 2010: it was supposed to be the next IndyCar.  It was intended to attract attention to that form of racing, which had been losing its fan base and which become a spec-racing series with an old-tech, open-wheel Dallara that was pretty boring.  Bowlby proposed a dramatic new car with only 300hp and which weighed far less than the Dallaras.  It was dramatic because of the shape: with a front track of only 24 inches, the car resembled a slimmed-down Space Shuttle in planform.