The revolutionary Nissan DeltaWing completed its first running on the racing Circuit de la Sarthe in the official 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day.
Invited to complete under the Automobile Club de l'Ouest's “Garage 56” classification that showcases new and innovative technology, the Nissan DeltaWing completed 54 laps with drivers Michael Krumm, Satoshi Motoyama and Marino Franchitti at the wheel.
Motoyama completed the fastest lap of 3:47.980s on a virtually trouble-free day for the team, with the Nissan technical team believing they are comfortably within reach of the race officials target pace of 3 minutes, 45 seconds.
With Franchitti handling most of the pre-event testing and development, he only handled 11 laps, allowing his team-mates to get more accustomed with the car and complete the mandatory 10 laps required to qualify for the race.
Franchitti said: “We've certainly had a very productive day and it has been great to get so many laps under our belt. Other than the one lap I did on wets, we spent the entire day on a single set of Michelin tires which is quite amazing.
“The important thing for us today was to get Michael and Satoshi qualified for the race and we achieved that quite easily. I'm really pleased for everyone involved in putting the Nissan DeltaWing program together. There has been an enormous amount of work and it is very gratifying that today has gone well. I've really been looking forward to driving the car and it didn't disappoint. We gathered a lot of data which we'll examine over the next week and work on making the car even better.”
Krumm commented: “We had a great day and ran without any issues or troubles all day – that is fantastic for the project. We tested out different setups, collected data, worked on fuel consumption and everything went very well with all of that. We managed to meet our targets on fuel consumption which was great. All in all, it was a really successful test.
“We're now going to analyze all the data and looking forward to next week. We hope we can continue to run without trouble. It is also great for me to be back at Le Mans. Some things have changed around the circuit but all the improvements have are really good.
“The car feels great around here. I was a little concerned about how the Nissan DeltaWing would feel through the Porsche Curves but it is absolutely fantastic and very stable. You can push really hard – so much fun to drive. I can't wait for the race.Motoyama added: “It has been 13 years since I raced here and I was a little nervous before today as I had to try to remember everything about the circuit. But it was a very good test today and everything went far better than I expected.
“The Nissan DeltaWing felt really strong today and it was great to get in plenty of laps because I now feel really comfortable in the car. There are fans around the world who are eagerly awaiting the chance to see this car run at Le Mans. That does provide a bit of added pressure but I am really looking to the race and it is great to be back at Le Mans again.”
The team will now return to the UK to complete final preparations ahead of a return to Le Mans for the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.