Skip to main content

'Holy fuel economy, Batman!' Radical race car unveiled for Le Mans test

By Tom McGowan, CNN
March 15, 2012 -- Updated 1232 GMT (2032 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nissan unveils the radical new DeltaWing car for the Le Mans 24 Hour race
  • The DeltaWing has drawn comparisons with Batman's iconic Batmobile car
  • The experimental car is powered by a 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine
  • The DeltaWing will be driven by Britain's Marino Franchitti and German Michael Krumm

(CNN) -- Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a Batmobile-like race car which will take to the track at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hour event in June.

Nissan's experimental DeltaWing, which bears a startling resemblance to the vehicle made famous by the "Caped Crusader," was unveiled by the Japanese manufacturer in London on Tuesday.

The purpose of the car is to promote fuel efficiency, with the DeltaWing's 1.6 liter engine set to complete motorsport's legendary endurance challenge using half the gas of its regular counterparts.

Despite being granted entry to the marquee French race, the DeltaWing will not be counted in the final Le Mans 24 Hour classification as it is participating as an experimental vehicle.

Nissan's radical DeltaWing will take part in June's Le Mans 24 Hour race. It has drawn comparisons with comic-book hero Batman's iconic "Batmobile."
Nissan's radical DeltaWing will take part in June's Le Mans 24 Hour race. It has drawn comparisons with comic-book hero Batman's iconic "Batmobile."
Nissan DeltaWing
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
Nissan DeltaWing unveiled Nissan DeltaWing unveiled

"This announcement gives Nissan the opportunity to become part of a ground-breaking motorsport project, and one which could shape the future of the sport," Nissan's executive vice president Andy Palmer said in a statement.

It's a spectacular piece, we've got the engine of our dreams
Ben Bowlby

"As motor racing rulebooks have become tighter over time, racing cars look more and more similar and the technology used has had less and less relevance to road car development.

"Nissan DeltaWing aims to change that, and we are delighted to have become part of the project."

The DeltaWing's radical design has half the aerodynamic drag of a conventional car and is only half the weight. It can also produce 300 bhp (horsepower) thanks to a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Rather than being piloted by Bruce Wayne's vigilante alter ego, the first two drivers of the DeltaWing will be Britain's Marino Franchitti, the younger brother of IndyCar legend Dario Franchitti, and Michael Krumm of Germany.

"It's a spectacular piece," DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby said. "We've got the engine of our dreams: it's the right weight, has the right power and it's phenomenally efficient."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
ADVERTISEMENT