Two days of testing for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida has provided DeltaWing Racing Cars an ample opportunity to learn about the car and sort out any issues. The DeltaWing, now powered by Elan, is set to make its LMP1 class debut in the American Le Mans Series on Saturday.
Andy Meyrick drove the entirety of Monday, and Olivier Pla had his first chance to drive and get acclimated to the revolutionary DeltaWing on Tuesday. On his tenth lap of the day, Pla got down to his and the car’s best lap of the week around the 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway, at 1:58.505.
“For the few laps I had, of course it feels very different than what I’m used to,” said Pla. “But I was expecting that anyway. It feels very stiff in the front, very soft in the rear. It’s not pitching a lot on the braking, so it surprised me a little bit at the beginning.
“After a few laps, you get a feeling of what to expect, and you get more and more confident,” he added. “It’s OK so far. I look forward to doing more mileage tomorrow and Thursday and going from there.”
Pla was able to learn from co-driver Meyrick, who had his first run in the car last week at a two-day test in Road Atlanta. Meyrick described what corner turn-in feels like in the car that has only four-inch wide front Bridgestone tires.
“I don’t think it’s so different to other prototypes,” said Meyrick. “With it being so light on the front end, it reacts well on turn-in. You can place the car pretty much wherever you like. You see an apex and boom, you’re there. Place the car in a corner, and it’s a dream to drive.”
Both drivers have raced at Sebring before, and Pla found success here last year by scoring the LMP2 class pole position for OAK Racing. As the week of testing progresses, they outlined the challenges that come with racing here.
“Sebring is a very hard track and very demanding for the cars, so our first expectations for Sebring will be to finish the race and show what the car is capable of,” said Pla.
“For Sebring I am extremely excited about what the race will hold for us,” added Meyrick. “Sebring is without doubt one of the toughest challenges for the driver, the car and the team. In that regard, there are so many unknown challenges that we will face. However I am confident that the DeltaWing will build on the potential that was shown last season. As long as we run a clean and consistent race and ensure that we are there at the end, I am sure that the result will come.”
For DeltaWing Racing Cars team boss David Price, going with known quantities in the driver lineup for Sebring reduces the hassles as the team sorts out the new elements on the car this year.
“What I wanted to do for Sebring was have as few variables as possible,” said Price. “I didn’t want to have drivers that I hadn’t worked with before. That would be something new to deal with. I did want to have drivers I had worked with, and that understand where we are with the project, and their expectations don’t go beyond what you might read.”
Testing continues at Sebring for a one-hour session on Wednesday evening, at 5 p.m. EST. Official practice for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida begins on Thursday.