The DeltaWing’s race-leading performance in the American Le Mans Series’ Road America round proves the car is now a contender, not a novelty, according to drivers Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge.
An early change to slicks on a drying track thrust Legge into the lead of Sunday’s race at the Elkhart Lake track, and she and Meyrick were each able to hold off the series-dominating Pickett HPD for a while, leading 16 laps in total. They ultimately finished fifth overall, the timing of late caution periods spoiling the team’s strategy.
“Everyone has worked extremely hard and every time we go out we improve,” said Legge. “But on Sunday, we really proved what the essence of the DeltaWing is all about. Dr. [Don] Panoz’s dream of showing how revolutionary the car is was realized.”
Initially created as a concept for the next generation IndyCar rules package, the DeltaWing came to fruition to race at the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours. This season Panoz, one of the partners in the projects, took its development in house, switching from the previous Nissan engine to Elan power, and swapping from Michelin to Bridgestone tires.
The Dave Price-headed DeltaWing team now fields the car in the ALMS’ LMP1 class, and it will be eligible for the new United SportsCar Championship next year when the ALMS and Grand-Am merge.
DELTAWING “HELD ITS OWN”
Meyrick, whose top-level sports car experience includes stints with Aston Martin, ORECA and Dyson said he and Legge had genuine hopes of fending off the HPD.
“To be disappointed at not finishing second shows how this project is moving forward,” he said. “It’s a development project and along with Elan Technologies and Bridgestone, it’s been an incredible job.
“We’ve never run in this car in the wet and it’s a testament to the car. When we were behind the wheel, we both had it in our heads that the Muscle Milk guys weren’t going to get past. We both tried but they were really quick in traffic.
“It does show how far we’ve come — we were really quick in our straightline speeds. We’ve worked hard on the chassis; we really held our own.”