Reigning American Le Mans Series PC class champion Gunnar Jeannette and inaugural Nissan GT Academy winner and 24 Hours of Le Mans podium finisher Lucas Ordonez completed three consecutive days of twilight running at the 2.54 mile Georgia circuit to prepare for their upcoming Nissan DeltaWing race debuts.
Originally unveiled at Petit Le Mans last year, the Nissan DeltaWing will race in the US for the first time next month in the final round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila PatrÂ¢n on October 20.
First run in 1998, Petit Le Mans is regarded as one of the world's premiere endurance events with teams doing battle over 1000 miles or 10 hours – whichever comes first.
The Nissan DeltaWing made its race debut at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans but was sadly forced out after contact with another car after six hours. The unique car pioneered by concept originator Ben Bowlby features half the weight, half the power and half the aerodynamic drag of a typical Le Mans sportscar.
The car is powered by a 1.6 liter four cylinder turbocharged Nissan DIG-T engine producing 300 horsepower.
Ordonez and Jeannette completed a total of 170 development laps during the nine hours of running spread over the three days at Road Atlanta – completing 432 miles.
The team worked on updated development suspension components as well as tire development for team partner Michelin which supplies tires for the unique car including the amazingly narrow 4-inch wide front tires.
“After my first laps in the Nissan DeltaWing at Road Atlanta I am really excited about getting to Petit Le Mans week.
"The car is a real joy to drive and it is a new challenge that I am really enjoying. I am really looking forward to getting to race time.
"The race at Petit is one of the most difficult events I have ever been a part of. The car count is very high and the amount of track we have to share is quite low at only 2.54 miles so things get very busy with only one long straight to get the passing done.
"It will be very busy for Lucas and I but testing has gone very well and that is extremely encouraging. We still have some gains to be made and there is a lot of track time during race week where we can continue the learning curve."
“It has been a few very productive days here at Road Atlanta and we have improved the car quite a bit.
"We've worked very hard with Ben Bowlby and all the team to try to further develop the car and get it sorted for this track.
"Gunnar and I are working well together and feeling confident in the car and the Nissan DeltaWing is working well here.
"We're learning, improving and changing set-ups all the time to tweak the suspension, set-ups and downforce levels.
"I'm really happy with the three days testing we've completed and I now can't wait until race week where we can have a good run."
DON PANOZ – DELTAWING RACING CARS
“The Nissan DeltaWing is certainly going to be one of the highlights of Petit Le Mans this year and having the guys test at Road Atlanta in advance has been very beneficial.
“The car is very much like a mobile science experiment and we are learning new things about it all the time. Getting the chance to work with Nissan and Michelin to further develop the car has been very helpful.
“It is amazing what has happened in a very short space of time. Twelve months ago we unveiled the car at Petit Le Mans and now we’re getting ready to race it again.
“As I expected, Gunnar Jeannette did a great job as always and I was thrilled to meet Lucas Ordonez on the weekend and see him in action.
“Both the guys did a really good job and I am sure the fans are really excited about seeing them race the car here next month."
DARREN COX – NISSAN
“Everyone at Nissan is very much looking forward to seeing the Nissan DeltaWing run again and the past three days have proven to be extremely productive.
“The team has been working very hard on adapting the car that was designed for the wide open spaces of an 8.5 mile circuit at Le Mans to perform well on circuit which is much shorter and places significant emphasis on turning and braking characteristics.
“We’ve also been getting Lucas Ordonez and Gunnar Jeannette up to speed in the car as well. The drivers and the entire team have been doing a great job and we’re now really looking forward to returning for the race to put on a great show for the fans."