Monday, November 5, 2012 at 08:51AM

DeltaWing Racing Cars

Young sportscar stars Lucas Ordoñez and Gunnar Jeannette faced a massive leap of faith when driving the Nissan DeltaWing for the first time.

But deciding whether or not the radical narrow-nosed racer would successfully negotiate its way around Road Atlanta at Petit Le Mans was nothing compared to the leap the pair made after the race.

Ordoñez and Jeannette celebrated their recent fifth place finish at Petit Le Mans by leaping from a plane 14,000 feet above the earth in Flordia.

While Jeannette has more than 10 years experience, hundreds of jumps and his name in record books as part of the group skydiving world record, Ordoñez was a complete rookie.

The dynamic duo pulled on their Nissan DeltaWing race suits for theSave & Close jump which was delayed for several days duo to weather concerns with Hurricane Sandy.

Once they lept out of the Skydive Sebastian plane, plummetted to the earth and completed a successful landing, Jeannette quickly discovered he may have a new Spanish skydiving buddy, rather than just a co-driver.

“When the instructor says it is ready to go your body doesn’t want to jump from the plane,” Ordoñez said.

“My girlfriend Adriana jumped as well. It was just an incredible experience. I want to do it again.”

Jeannette (who also regularly takes part in base jumping and wing suit descents) jumped solo while Ordoñez fell earthbound strapped to an instructor.

“I love going on tandem jumps with good friends and seeing their reaction. I’ve never seen Lucas smile so big,” Jeannette said.

“It was greating working with Lucas at Petit Le Mans and we figured this was a great way to celebrate the result.”

Ordoñez and Jeannette’s fifth place finish at the home race for DeltaWing Racing Cars at Road Atlanta came after some early “air time” for the Nissan DeltaWing in Wednesday testing when contact with GTC class Porsche sent Jeannette sliding down the road upside down coming up to the final turn.

Frantic work by the team completely rebuilt the car within 24 hours – enabling the car to contest night practice on Thursday and Friday’s single qualifying session. As a non-classified experimental entry, the Nissan DeltaWing was forced to start from the back of the grid but still completed a stunning run in the race to run as high as third overall before finishing fifth.

The unique car features half the weight, half the power and half of the aerodynamic drag of a typical Le Mans sportscar. Compared to its rivals, the Nissan DeltaWing also consumes nearly half as much fuel and enjoys dramatically decreased tire wear from its specially developed Michelin tires.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mission accomplished! The Nissan DeltaWing had one goal entering its North American debut at Petit Le Mans – score a race finish.

The team not only completed the 1000 mile journey at Road Atlanta today, but American Gunnar Jeannette and Spaniard Lucas Ordoñez demonstrated stunning pace throughout the race to finish fifth in the endurance classic.

Running unclassified as an invitational entry for the final round of the American Le Mans Series, the Nissan DeltaWing team were forced to start off the back of the grid and subsequently lost additional track position by missing out on a number safety car “wave arounds” throughout the race.

The unique 1.6 liter Nissan DIG-T turbochaged-powered machine eventually crossed the line three laps down from the P2 class winning car.

Jeannette started the race for the Nissan DeltaWing squad and immediately began a charge through the pack – passing eight cars on the opening lap.

By the time he handed over to Ordoñez, the No.0 car had moved up to eigth position out of the 42 car field.  The Spaniard took over and completed a triple stint – handing back to Jeannette from third place overall.

The Michelin tire-equipped Nissan DeltaWing continued to show incredible endurance when Jeannette returned to the wheel – this time completing a quadruple stint without changing tires.

Ordoñez took over for the final 110 laps – bringing the car across the line in sixth place. The team gained a further position after the checkered flag when a P2 car was excluded due to a driver exceeding the maximum drive time permitted.

Today’s performance was made even more remarkably considering the team had to completely rebuild the car on Wednesday after Jeannette was forced into a dramatic roll-over in testing when he was struck by a GTC-class Porsche. Click the header graphic above to view a time lapse of the rebuild.

Featuring half the weight, half the horsepower and half the aerodynamic drag of a typical Le Mans sportscar, the Nissan DeltaWing captured the imagination of fans and media alike at its race debut at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Sadly, the car was forced out after six hours due to contact with another prototype. This established a target for the Nissan DeltaWing team for Petit Le Mans.

Just getting to the race finish was that target – one that was achieved with flying colors.



“It was a great job by all the team and everyone has worked so hard all week.

“There has been so much work put into developing this car and then after the crash this week made for even more work.

“We’ve now crossed the finish line in a 10 hour race. Gunnar did an amazing job during his stints and I was able to be consistent and show good pace.

“The car was fantastic to drive, Michelin did a great job with the tires and we’ve been working really hard on developing the entire package.

“We’ve shown everyone in motorsport that the car is really strong and fast. We’re here with a new concept of half the weight, half the power and half the aerodynamic drag – but with pace that is very comparable to the P2 cars.

“I’m really proud to cross the line at the finish and I’m now ready to celebrate with the guys.”