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24 Hours of Le Mans Becomes Alternative Power Showcase

Audi Hybrid takes checkered flag, Delta Wing makes strong initial showing.

by on Jun.18, 2012

The unique Nissan Delta Wing made it through nearly seven hours before being driven off the track, ironically, by a Toyota hybrid.

It has been described as the most demanding and unforgiving road race in the world, one that only the hardiest men and machine can hope to survive, never mind win.  So, even a good showing during the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a significant achievement.

And this year’s ultimate endurance race suggests that alternative power and automotive design is ready to challenge the mainstream.  With Audi’s latest high-tech entry claiming victory and the striking Delta Wing making an impressive – if short-lived – debut, even more alternative entries appear to be on the horizon, including one from Japan’s Mazda.

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Already a dominant force with its diesel-powered racers, Audi took an even bolder step this year with the addition of the R18 etron Quattro – which took the checkered flag to become the first hybrid vehicle ever to win the 24-hour event.  Audi snatched a compelling 1-2-3 win during the 80th running of the annual Le Mans endurance race with two R18 etrons first across the finish line followed by a more conventionally diesel-powered R18 ultra.


Nissan Darting into LeMans with DeltaWing racer

Revolutionary design could reshape motor sports.

by on Mar.14, 2012

Nissan has put its name on the DeltaWing racer as its title sponsor.

Over more than a century of motor sports, the racing world has often been transformed by dramatic shifts in design.  Today, aerodynamics can play as significant a role as the powertrain in a race car – as fans of the Formula One world can readily attest.

Is the DeltaWing project ready to unleash the next big revolution?  The dart-like concept, which has more visually in common with a fighter aircraft than a NASCAR or even an Indy racer, is set to get its first big test during the unforgiving 24 Hours of Le Mans thanks to the project’s latest sponsor, Nissan.

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The Japanese maker says it is “aiming to change the face of endurance racing forever” with what has now been renamed the Nissan DeltaWing.  That’s no minor boast when you consider what the exotic concept will be going up against, including the likes of Audi’s latest diesel-powered monster, the R18 eTron Quattro.