The DeltaWing team was encouraged despite the results at Le Mans. Thus, the team entered the September Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta near the car’s new home at the Élan Technologies. Earlier that year, the team ended its relationships with AAR and Nissan NISMO, the engine supplier. The team wanted another shot to validate the concept and finish a long race.
Competing as an unclassified entry, the DeltaWing did more than pound around for 10 hours. Drivers Gunnar Jeannette and Lucas Ordonez drove to a respectable fifth-place finish in the 1,000-mile enduro.
Katherine Legge joined Andy Myrick on the team in May 2013. They scored DeltaWing’s first podium LM P1 finish at California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Three months later they led 16 laps at Road America and finished fifth again.
The car continued to evolve. The DeltaWing got a closed cockpit in late 2013 to comply with 2014 ACO LM P1 rules. The team showed off the new car at Circuit of The Americas in September as well as the season-ending Petit Le Mans. Myrick and Legge scored the DeltaWing’s second podium finish in the final race of the season.
The next three years settled into a rhythm. The car was always competitive, leading races frequently but that breakthrough victory never materialized. It looked like the 2014 Road America race would give the team a chance to improve from the year before, but six long caution periods negated the DeltaWing’s fuel-mileage advantage.
Last year got off to a great start during the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“Every driver in their stints set the fastest lap times,” Panoz noted. “Was that elusive win finally going to happen? Nope. A car spun out at the entrance to the infield and stalled, blocking the track. It’s very dark and the spotters can’t see that part of the track. No caution was shown for a minute and 23 seconds.”
The DeltaWing plowed into a stalled car, ending its chance for glory.
“The problem is there is no rulebook for the DeltaWing because it’s a very unique car,” Panoz explained. “IMSA put in a Balance of Performance.”
IMSA made adjustments for the DP cars so they could beat the GT cars, but did not give the DeltaWing similar adjustments.
“Last year (2015) we almost finished on the podium at Road America and this year (2016) we were two seconds faster and we can’t run seventh or eighth just to show you what the balance of performance did,” Panoz noted. “The car is great. If we a little more boost and a little more horsepower to take advantage of our technology. … It was just kept in a box so that’s the place it would be.”
Even though the DeltaWing will race no more, a new DeltaWing GT is soon to appear on race tracks and streets. The street version will begin life as a two-seater. A four-seat version is extant. Panoz engineers say the street car will have supercar performance, get 64 miles per gallon and cost $60,000.
Stay tuned — Don Panoz is always on the move.