The Highcroft Racing-run DeltaWing Nissan is now barely 24 hours away from hitting the track for the first action of the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours, with the team aiming to build on an encouraging performance during the recent test day.
The 'Garage 56' entry, which is competing in the event to showcase new technology, will be competing in its debut race less than 100 days after running for the first time.
The unique car, powered by a 1.6 litre turbo-charged engine and featuring specially constructed smaller tyres on a narrow front-end, is aiming to show that the performance of Le Mans prototype machines can be matched using much smaller and more efficient engines while the DeltaWing is also expected to be much kinder to its tyres than rival machines.
As such, the team will hope for a strong run in the race itself at the weekend, although driver Marino Franchitti admitted it was important not to get carried away.
“The ACO test was certainly a very encouraging start to our Le Mans adventure, it was great that the car ran faultlessly at the test as it allowed us to complete our program and then some,” he said. “That certainly puts us in a better position coming into the race with more information to learn from. Michael [Krumm], Satoshi [Motoyama] and I are looking for the same improvements from the car so that makes all our jobs easier.
“I was really happy with how the Nissan DeltaWing handled and felt in traffic, the aero performance seemed consistent no matter what cars we ran with and that is a very important thing in multi class racing. The performance of the Michelin tyres was just as we hoped and whether we have rain or shine, I'm confident in the grip we have from the rubber on the road.
“From the moment the car was unloaded off the truck at the test we had a huge amount of interest around our garage. When the pit lane was open for fans everyone seemed to want to come and take a look and a lot of other drivers, team members and mechanics were also very interested too. It's nice that the car has had such a great reception from not only the fans, but also from our fellow competitors and I can't even imagine how crazy it's going to be race week when 250,000 spectators are there.
“With such a new and innovative program, we're, to a degree, heading into the unknown entering a 24 hour race and while we were certainly happy with the test, we're not complacent about the huge task ahead of us.”