The Nissan DeltaWing was punted by a GTC Porsche in afternoon practice for the American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans at Road America. The DeltaWing flipped upside down, doing considerable bodywork damage. The team expects the car to be repaired and ready by the Thursday morning practice session. (Check put this in-car crash video.)
Gunnar Jeannette was at the wheel of the experimental prototype when it caught up with the No. 34 Green Hornet Porsche while ascending the uphill portion of the back straight after Turns 10a and b. The Porsche, perhaps reacting to blue passing flags, pulled to the right to let faster traffic by. Unfortunately that faster traffic, the DeltaWing was passing on the right.
The DeltaWing, less than half the weight of the Porsche, shot sideways, did a hlf-roll and landed upside down, then slid into the wall and bounced back upright.
Jeannette was not injured. The Porsche was able to continue with the practice session.
“Not the best of practice sessions, unfortunately,” said Gunnar Jeannette on the Highcroft Racing website (Highcroft helps organize the car’s crew.)
“Everything was going well … I followed a GTC car through [turns] 10a and 10b and I had a run on him exiting the corner before the bridge and pulled almost completely past.
“He cut over to take the apex and made heavy contact with the left-rear of our car that sent me for a bit of a ride—luckily, the guys built a very strong car.
“While the damage looks to be bad in photographs, the car took the impact quite well. We have all the spare parts to fix it and we have an excellent crew that got to work straight away and had the car stripped down remarkably quickly.”
The DeltaWing had set the sixth fastest lap time of the session before the accident.
The DeltaWing was similarly sideswiped during it race debut the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. While the DeltaWing offers the same driver protection as the larger cars it races against, because of its light weight the car can get pushed around easily.
The ten-hour American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans race starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Tickets are available through the Road Atlanta website.
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