World Endurance Championship

More bad luck for the Nissan Delta Wing

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    During a testing session for this years Petit Le Mans the Delta Wing was wrecked yet again.

    Seeing the crash, I’m not so sure it will appear much after this. With Prototype regulations requiring closed-cockpits, as well as various other open-cockpit incidents , this “tri-pod” design seems like it may be a little too unsafe. Thank goodness the driver (Gunnar Jeannette) was unharmed!


    That looked painful… you can see his his helmet scraping first across the asphalt, then the grass. Absolutely relieved that the driver got out of that uninjured.

    You’re right about the tripod design. Looking at the crash footage, the narrow front end allowed the entire vehicle to tip over at an angle. Not sure how they would resolve that – maybe a side fairing, or widening the front axle.

    Would it be feasible for Nissan to invest in a closed cockpit a-la the Batmobile which the car resembles? Or perhaps a pop-up roll-bar (the kind fitted to some road-going convertibles) behind the driver’s head to keep the cockpit off the ground during a roll? It’s likely that there would be some aerodynamic penalty, but it does go a long way toward making cockpit safer.


    Well that’s a silly crash. What on earth was the Porsche driver playing at? And in a test session…


    Wow, what a horrible accident. And what on earth was going on inside that Porsche? Maybe he was taking to the pitlane, and hadn’t seen the DW… But it certainly looks stupid.
    But I think it goes to show a fundamental flaw in the DW design. If a relatively simple sideways impact like that can make the whole thing tip over its nose, then its just not safe enough. A ‘real’ car would just have spun out. Like the Porsche did…
    Maybe mounting a wide and very rigid front wing quite close to the ground could stop the car from tipping over in a sideways collision like this. But that would ruin the low-drag principle of it. But we can’t risk safety for a concept like this. Its just not that important. Not even slightly.
    A canopy or rollbar would help, but its always better to stop the thing from rolling over in the first place.


    Problem for the DeltaWing is that if it flips, crashes, gets hit by another driver, or whatever, people are always going to blame it on the unusual design. Prototypes do flip over very easily unfortunately; just look at the TS030 crash from Le Mans this year, or the Audis from the year before. Sadly for the DeltaWing there seem to be no end of people desperate for some excuse to say it’s a bad design.

    Fact is, the guy in the Porsche is responsible for what happened. Complete brain fade moment.


    While I agree the Porsche driver was being stupid, it does appear as though the Delta Wing rolls quite easily. I definetely agree that some form of head protection is needed in that car, having your head scrape along the track is obviously not a good thing to have happening.


    It does look horrible, and there probably is an argument for a closed cockpit there. But the rollover protection did do its job regardless and the driver walked away.

    If there’s one issue with the DeltaWing I think it’s the fact it’s not that easy to see. The stealth look may look cool but I do wonder whether it would be a bit more visible if it was white. Maybe it also needs some kind of verticle spat on the nose so that people can see it a bit easier.

    However, what the Porsche driver did there was absolutely inexcusable.


    I may be wrong here, but it looks like the Porsche’s left-rear got slightly over the edge of the circuit on exit which caused a small oversteer moment, and that is why he veers to the right so suddenly. The Delta Wing does seem to have some fundamental design flaws with regards to stability in an accident situation though. I would also think about painting it bright orange ro something so that other drivers see it easily.


    They’re reporting that the Porsche driver basically got out on the kerb under full throttle and was going into a spin when it hit the DW. The impact was recorded as having a force of 7G on the little prototype, so it was definitely no small nudge!

    I don’t think there’s anything there really to suggest that there’s a stability issue with the design. it was hit from the side with 7G of force while turning a corner. It was also going over a crest at the time, where the tendency is for the car to go light anyway. This combination of factors will have caused the roll. But I don’t think there’s anything there that wouldn’t have happened had the DW been a conventional prototype. If anything, it seemed to stay close to the ground where a rectangular footprint prototype would likely have launched higher into the air. The only real concern is the head protection, but since the driver walked away unharmed it’s hard to argue that it’s inadequate.


    Some more details on the crash from Nissan:

    The Nissan DeltaWing’s assault on the 15th annual Petit Le Mans event suffered a set-back in testing today when Gunnar Jeannette was struck by a GTC Porsche and forced into a violent roll.

    The Nissan DeltaWing was only 4/10ths of a second slower than the fastest P2 car in sixth place on the timesheet in this afternoon’s session. Unfortunately during the session Jeannette was passing a GTC class Porsche when he was struck violently in the left rear wheel.

    The massive impact was measured at 7Gs on the team’s telementary system. Video footage from the Nissan-powered Conquest Racing P2 car of Martin Plowman showed the Porsche bouncing off the exit kerb at turn 10b and smashing into the Nissan DeltaWing as Jeannette was going by. (Click on link below to view video)

    The car scraped down the road on its roll hoops before suffering a heavy impact with the wall and landing back on its wheels.

    Jeannette was transferred to the track medical centre but was soon released with no injuries suffered.

    The crew immediately began work on repairing the damage with a target on having the car return to the track tomorrow.

    Prior to the impact, the Nissan DeltaWing had set a fastest time of 1 minute, 13.686 seconds for the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit.

    Gunnar Jeannette: “Not the best of practice sessions, unfortunately.

    “Everything was going well… 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.

    “Luckily, the guys built a very strong car.

    “While the damage looks to be bad in photographs, the car took the impact quite well. We have all the spare parts to fix it and we have an excellent crew that got to work straight away and had the car stripped down remarkably quickly.”


    It’s completely ruined that wing mirror.


    Ah, well at 7g I can completely understand the reason why the car behaved like that, its not exactly a small shunt now is it?


    Looks like they’ve managed to repair it so there should be no problems with it running at PLM



    Best news I’ve heard all day!


    Great, hopefully it can get a clean race!

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