Coyote Cars boss Gary Nelson (LEFT) reached into his pocket, pulled out his phone and thumbed through e-mails as we stood on pit lane during the recent November TUDOR United SportsCar Championship test at Sebring. He soon found what he was looking for and opened up a blue 3D rendering of the custom Daytona Prototype body England’s Delta Motorsport has designed on Coyote’s behalf.
“It looks different to what most of the [DPs] look like, doesn’t it?” he said. And he was right.
The final shape of the body is being kept under wraps for now, but if the tall, raked nose, and low, sloped sidepods remain unchanged when the body is pressed into service, Coyote could have one of the most distinctive, LMP-looking DPs on the market.
Their current chassis, which wears Corvette DP bodywork, has become a popular solution in the TUDOR Championship Prototype category, but with the desire to distinguish the Coyote brand as more than a nameless chassis beneath a recognizable GM shell, Nelson and Delta continue to work on a bespoke body for customers to use.
“From the Coyote side, we’re always looking to improve our presence on the racetrack and find ways to showcase what a great product that we have,” said Nelson, who also runs the Action Express Racing DP team. “The chassis is solid and now Coyote has worked pretty hard to get a body put together that we could put over our chassis and really showcase what we can do. So there’s a lot of work going in that direction.
“We’ve got a great relationship with Delta Motorsport Nick Carpenter and Simon Dowson are just great to work with. And we’ve been moving the project along really well with them. Now, it’s getting to the point where the bodywork is just about done. And that, in itself, brings up a lot of what if’ questions. And, to me, every one of them is pretty exciting for Coyote. But there’s still some details to be worked out.”
Nelson told RACER the new Coyote body should be ready for use in the early stages of the 2014 season, albeit after the season opener at the 24 Hours of Daytona. He also confirmed Delta, which is part of the successful Delta-ADR P2 program that won five of the eight WEC races held this year, will partner with AXR on the No. 9 Coyote/Corvette DP entry at Daytona.
“Yes, Delta will be part of the No. 9,” he said. “The No. 5 will be a Corvette DP, but we’re not quite ready to talk about the No. 9, but there’s some stuff going on there that could be unique. Let me put it this way, Action Express is solid with its Chevy Corvette [DP] program. Moving forward, what happens with the 9 is still in the talking stages.”
Delta managing director Simon Dowson told RACER the Coyote project and AXR racing partnership that has also emerged is a perfect extension of a relationship that dates back more than five years.
“We worked with Coyote back in 2008 when the team first took over the manufacturing license,” he said. “We did a new body for them when Eddie Cheever took over, and that development then that carried on with Pratt & Miller. So when the opportunity came up to do something this fun with Coyote again, we jumped at the chance.”
Dressing the Coyote in a new body is the primary task at hand, and other than outfitting the chassis with whatever’s needed to mount one of the various DP engines that are available, Dowson expects the body manufacturing, and fitment to be straightforward.
“The chassis is established now with the Corvette body, and the mechanics of the car are already proven,” he added. “Although, there’s going to be some differences with the different engine, the chassis itself exists and wins races. In terms of track testing with the new Coyote body, that’s going to be difficult because of all the rules changes that have been going on.
“We first finished the aero program probably three months ago and we sat around waiting for the confirmation of rules to start actually cutting tooling. In the end, we couldn’t wait any longer and we’re cracking on with it now.”
Dowson also said he and his Delta constituents are excited about competing in the 24-hour race with Nelson and AXR.
“I’m a firm believer that the DP car should be winning the Daytona 24 Hour race and not an LMP car,” he declared. “That’s why we’re wanting to go that route instead of the LMP for Daytona.”