Monday, November 5, 2012 at 08:51AM
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.
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.