DeltaWing Racing Cars has made steady, gradual, daily improvements to the DeltaWing powered by Élan in advance of its debut in the LMP1 class this week at Sebring International Raceway.
Further progress continued with qualifying on Friday for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by “Fresh from Florida,” the opening round of the 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Olivier Pla qualified with the car’s fastest lap of the week, at 1:53.866 around the 3.7-mile circuit. Co-driver Andy Meyrick will start Saturday’s race.
“That was all we could do today in qualifying,” said Pla. “I improved my time by 1.8 seconds to free practice. I have to say a big thanks to the team because one month ago there was nothing. It’s all been built in a minimal amount of time. Now, we have to look forward to the race tomorrow.”
Every on-track session has been a learning experience for the DeltaWing team. Essentially, it’s been a week-long test as the team explores the car’s new elements. The goal for Saturday, simply, is to finish the 12-hour race distance.
“We have to take this race like a test session,” said Pla. “We have to work on the car, understand the car, and now we’ll take the race step-by-step. We have to stay out of trouble and keep going as much as we can.”
The other major new element besides the new Élan powerplant, are new tires from Bridgestone. This race marks Bridgestone’s arrival to the American Le Mans Series as a tire partner.
In testing and practice this week, the DeltaWing has completed more than 100 laps of running, and improved more than seven seconds from its fastest time on Monday to its qualifying time.
A 25-minute warmup occurs at 8:00 a.m. EST on Saturday, before the 12-hour race sets off at 10:45 a.m. EST on Saturday. The race airs live on SPEED, starting at 10:30 a.m. EST, with streaming on ALMS.com running concurrently online.
DeltaWing Racing Cars managing partner Dr. Don Panoz serves as Grand Marshal of this year’s Sebring 12-hour race, and will be on the grid prior to the race start.