In less than 24 hours after suffering an accident at the Road Atlanta track in Braselton, Georgia, the Nissan DeltaWing is back on track and ready to race in this Saturday’s Petit Le Mans event – the final round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series.
The accident happened when the Nissan DeltaWing was struck in the left rear by a GTC class Porsche just as driver Gunner Jeannette came under a bridge. There was damage to the car from the subsequent rollover and impact with the wall that had the Nissan DeltaWing team working throughout the night to rebuild the car.
Jeannette walked away from the accident unscathed, thanks to the car’s “tub” – a carbon-fiber survival-cell used in all Le Mans-style prototype racing.
“The biggest impact the car suffered was actually the hit from the Porsche; but, the subsequent damage from the rollover and then hitting the wall broke a lot of components,” said Nissan DeltaWing Concept Originator, Ben Bowlby. “We had some damage to the roll hoop but that was mainly cosmetic. Unfortunately we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The good thing is the car again proved itself to be remarkably safe.”
From here the Nissan DeltaWing will continue preparations to finish what it started at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this past summer. With American ace Gunnar Jeannette and former Nissan Playstation GT Academy winner Lucas Ordoñez behind the wheel, the team is targeting a race finish at the 1000 mile / 10 hour Petit Le Mans event.
Commenting on yesterday’s accident, Jeannette said, “I followed a GTC car through [turns] 10a and 10b and I had a run on him exiting the corner before the bridge and pulled almost completely past. He cut over to take the apex and made heavy contact with the left-rear of our car. That sent me for a bit of a ride.” He continued, “Luckily, the guys built a very strong car. While the damage looked to be bad in photographs, the car took the impact quite well. We had all the spare parts to fix it and we have an excellent crew that worked through the night to make sure we’d be back on track 24 hours later.”
There is now one more day of testing and preparations ahead of the Petit Le Mans race. This will be the first North American event for the Nissan DeltaWing, which features half the weight, half the horsepower and half the aerodynamic drag of a typical Le Mans sports car.