6/30/2014 | 2 MINUTE READ

Radical Design for 54.5 MPG & More

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The people at DeltaWing Technologies think their approach to racecar architecture could have applicability for daily drivers, as well. Light, sleek, energy-efficient, and, well . . . unusual.


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The DeltaWing architecture from DeltaWing Technologies (deltawingtech.com) is used as  the basis for a car that’s racing in the IMSA-sanctioned TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The car is narrow in the front and broader in the back, thereby providing better aerodynamics. Seventy-five percent of the aerodynamic downforce acts on the rear of the car; the lift-to-drag ratio is >4.0. The composite-intensive (tub and body panels) vehicle weighs just 1,048 lb., even though it is 183.-in. long, about the length of a typical midsize sedan.

But it’s a race car. And race cars generally have configurations and technologies that are track-specific, or at least not the sorts of things that are readily adaptable to production vehicles.

But according to Don Panoz, chairman of DeltaWing Technologies, “Many of the aerodynamic, lightweight and handling benefits of the race car can translate to the street. We are competing at the highest levels of road racing with half the weight, half the horsepower (they’re using a 1.9-liter four cylinder engine that produces ~350 hp @ 6,800 rpm), and nearly half of the fuel consumption. We believe we can deliver similar results on the street without compromising safety, comfort and performance. We have a formula that’s highly efficient and still fun to drive.”

So they’ve developed the design for a DeltaWing road vehicle, a car that fits four people. They estimate that the architecture would result in a car that would be 35% lighter, require 35% less horsepower (they’re thinking a 85- to 100-hp four cylinder engine), and consume 35% less fuel than a conventionally designed vehicle. Yet it would have a zero to 60 mph time of about 6 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph.

Most notably, they’re calculating that the car would return up to  70 mpg.

The company is performing CAD styling of the vehicle as well as developing modular platform engineering plans. Their objective is to license the technology to OEMs, then to help them tailor their vehicles from existing or modified components and systems, thereby reducing time to market as well as development costs.

“While we certainly have  the capabilities and decades of auto manufacturing experience throughout our affiliates Panoz LLC and Élan Motorsports Technologies, the DeltaWing deserves the higher volume than an OEM can provide to truly have a beneficial impact on the future and the environment,” said Al Speyer, DeltaWing Technologies president and COO.

One wonders, however: the body shape is unusual in the context of sports cars, so how will it look in a residential driveway?