Friday, June 15, 2012

The Delta Wing ready for Le Mans tomorrow

One of the most exciting innovations in the world of auto racing is the Nissan Delta Wing, an unorthodox race car design which will compete tomorrow in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

(YouTube) Designer Ben Bowlby teamed with Dan Gurney’s All American Racers and Nissan Motors to develop the radical car design, which operates with half the weight, half the fuel, and half the horsepower of the conventional configurations.

In 1967, after winning Le Mans with his co-driver A. J. Foyt, Dan Gurney was handed a bottle of champagne, which he spontaneously shook and sprayed over members of the press and doubters around him, beginning a tradition for victory celebrations everywhere.

Last fall I visited All American Racers in California while they were still building the vehicle. That's my second cousin Dan Gurney and his son Alex, who was the first to test drive it.

Ben Bowlby showed me the resin model that they used for testing the aerodynamic behavior of the design. An international team of drivers will pilot the vehicle in the grueling race.

Broadcast should begin around 8:30 on Saturday morning. You can listen to a free radio webcast at


jeff jordan said...

Best wishes for Le Mans! Dan Gurney has always been a hero.

I saw a t-shirt in the video, something like "The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." That's pretty much my personal mantra. Are those shirts available for purchase?

en_b said...

Such an awesome Friday Fun Fact that your cousin is involved with one of the most exciting and cutting edge things on the planet- auto racing!
What a talented family, would love to hear about what kind of stuff you two got into as kids.

James Gurney said...

En B -- When I was a kid, Dan Gurney gave me a model car (with working headlights), and his signature on it saying "To Jim, Drive this car carefully." It was the first thing I ever had signed by a famous person, and I cherished it. My dad was roughly Dan's age when they both were kids, and they used to race tricycles. You can guess who won every time! What the whole family shares (my sons included) is the engineer gene or temperament, wanting to come up with some completely new idea and try to make it work.

Jeff, I wish I had one of those shirt, too! I don't know where you can get them.

Jeff said...

Wow Jim - so cool! I never knew there was a connection between you and Dan Gurney! Growing up I was part of some kind of Dan Gurney Racing Team fan I recall the coolest thing was collecting racing stickers and putting them in a special binder. Pretty sure that is what steered me toward graphic design.

Anyway, great story and I wish the team great success!


Sajib OO said...

Batman Would have been proud.