The 2012 Autosport Awards, the motorsport industry’s ‘Oscars’ held last night at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane, provided a night of delight for Nissan when the Nissan DeltaWing received the award for Pioneering and Innovation. The Nissan DeltaWing has grabbed headlines, turned heads, and divided opinions wherever it has gone. For Nissan, a company known for delivering innovation that excites, this project has gathered great momentum throughout the season, providing excitement for fans of motorsport but has also caught the eye of non-motorsport fans, intrigued by the car’s unique design.
The first Nissan DeltaWing driver, Marino Franchitti, presented the award to DeltaWing Designer Ben Bowlby during the star-studded evening. “While the car wasn’t eligible to collect any trophies in its two races so far, it is very rewarding that the industry and the media recognise the significance of the project,” Bowlby said. “I can honestly say I’ve never done anything so cool in my life. The Nissan DeltaWing is all about efficiency and we hope this car can play a part in shaping the future of the sport.
“There are many people who have played key roles in the development of the car but I have to say a big thanks to Don Panoz’s Garage 56 consortium with DeltaWing Racing Cars, and of course the ACO. Nissan and Michelins’ contributions were imperative. It took a huge leap of faith from them to really make this car possible. Both signed on at a time when we had plenty of doubters saying the car wouldn’t go around corners.”
The unique Nissan DeltaWing features the performance of contemporary Le Mans sportscars but consumes only half their fuel and tyres, using half of their power, aerodynamic drag and weight.
“What made the car stand out from other contenders for the Pioneering and Innovation Award is traditionally the winners are for something underneath the skin of a race car which the man on the street would really struggle to see or even understand,” Autosport, Editor-In-Chief, Andrew van de Burgt said.
“No matter whether you are a hard core motorsports fan, or somebody who doesn’t follow the sport at all – one look at the car and you can tell that it is totally different from anything seen before. It really is a credit to everyone involved in the project. It has generated great interest amongst our readers and we look forward to seeing the car compete again in the future.”
The plaudits don’t stop there for the Nissan DeltaWing. The car has already won EVO magazine’s Innovation Award; it was voted Automobile magazine’s Racing Car of the Year and received the Popular Science Best of What’s New Award. Ben Bowlby has also received the Simms Medal from the Royal Automobile Club and the Dino Toso Award for the world’s top racing aerodynamicist, awarded by Race Tech magazine.
“Last night was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people who weren’t scared to use their imaginations,” said Nissan’s Darren Cox. “The Nissan DeltaWing is clearly innovative in terms of the car’s design but the entire project and the way it has engaged the interest of the fans is also innovative. We have all enjoyed the challenge.”