Clermont-Ferrand, France -- Group
Michelin will team with DeltaWing L.L.C. to help develop the firm's
Project 56 DeltaWing racer, a radical departure from accepted racing car
design, for next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.
will develop tyres specifically for the DeltaWing racer, which features
an extremely narrow front and a low aerodynamic drag design that the
project backers say will allow the car to race with just half the
horsepower of competing designs.
and DeltaWing announced their partnership this morning at Road Atlanta
near Braselton, site of the Petit Le Mans race this weekend, the final
race in the 2012 American Le Mans Series championship.
Michelin, which has outfitted the winning car at the 24 Hours of Le
Mans for the past 14 years, partnering with DeltaWing for this project
will mean building front tyres that will be just 100mm (4 inches) wide,
or less than half the width of tyres normally used in this style of
front and rear tyres will be 15-inch rim diameter, vs. 18-inch for the
standard Le Mans-style tyre. The car's front track is just 24 inches,
vs. 70 inches in the rear.
DeltaWing race car project is the brainchild of former Lola Cars Chief
Designer Ben Bowlby, who initially envisioned it as the next-generation
IndyCar design. When the IndyCar Series chose another, more conventional
design for its next-generation chassis, the DeltaWing backers looked
elsewhere for a venue for their vehicle.
search led them to the Le Mans endurance classic, which offers one spot
in the starting field for alternative technology-based cars.
project's initial backers found a number of other partners as the
project morphed into the Project 56 (for the 56th starting spot at Le
Mans) consortium. The team consists of: Highcroft Racing, which is
running the test and race program; DeltaWing Racing Cars; All-American
Racers, which will build the initial prototype; and ALMS Founder Don
Panoz's Panoz Auto Development Co., which is providing the lightweight
bodywork material and acting as a key adviser.
DeltaWing presents exciting new territory for Michelin to explore,â€
said Nick Shorrock, director of competition, Michelin. â€œReducing energy
consumption and materials-while maintaining, or even enhancing
performance-is especially relevant in meeting the needs of consumers
worldwide. Project 56 takes fresh ideas and puts them into a dramatic
new package and we look forward to these challenges and opportunities.â€
56's efficiency targets will now include the tyres, where the goal will
be to cut the car's tyre consumption in half as well.
a numbers point of view, the car with driver will weigh just 1,030
pounds. The backers envision a turbocharged 2-litre, 4-cylinder engine
producing about 300 hp.
80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be June 16-17, 2012, at
the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, approximately 90 miles southwest of