A pair of Americans with roots in the historic community have joined forces with an English engineer to try to write more history at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Dan Gurney, who teamed with A.J. Foyt to win Le Mans for Ford in 1967, and whose Eagle racing cars made much history over the last third of the 20th century, has joined forces with Highcroft Racing’s Duncan Dayton and Ganassi Racing engineer Ben Bowlby, creator of the DeltaWing concept, to produce a version of the revolutionary vehicle under Le Mans organizer Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Garage 56 concept. American Le Mans Series founder Dr. Don Panoz has also joined the project as a key advisor.
Last year, hoping to foster innovation, the ACO created a 56th grid spot for a single entry that did not fit within the confines of existing regulations for the current LMP and GT categories. This is where the DeltaWing would compete when it reaches fruition, and while essentially a demonstration exercise, it would also provide an in-the-heat-of-battle examination of the car’s potential and performance.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the DeltaWing concept, it was originally proposed as an option for IndyCar’s 2012 chassis design, but lost out when the League decided to retain current constructor Dallara. It has a shape reminiscent of many Land Speed Record cars, with a long, pointed nose and most everything else clustered around the rear wheels. The basic aim of the design is to reduce aerodynamic drag significantly, thus cutting the amount of power necessary to achieve competitive speeds. It will be interesting to see if this idea can find an agreeable place within the sport’s history.