DeltaWing Racing Cars has put two successful tests under its belt since its last race at Sebring, and heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend with renewed confidence and a different driver lineup.
For the four-hour American Le Mans Series Monterey, Katherine Legge makes her race debut both with the team and in the ALMS, joining Andy Meyrick aboard the No. 0 DeltaWing powered by Élan, with Bridgestone tires.
The team completed more than 100 laps at Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, Ga. on April 30, with additional testing done at Buttonwillow Raceway in California on Monday.
“I’m delighted that in such a short period of time after Sebring, that we were able to improve the new engine that we developed,” said Don Panoz, managing partner, DeltaWing Racing Cars. “I can see we’ve fixed some of the gremlins, and the car ran for more than 100 laps at Roebling Road. We were also able to test a new cooling system and packaging for the engine.”
Although this marks the first start for the DeltaWing in Monterey, both Meyrick and Legge have experience at the 2.238-mile road course in Northern California. The goal for the drivers and team this week is to continue development of the revolutionary project and finish the race, after acquiring a substantial amount of data from the tests.
“The last time I was at Laguna Seca was in 2010 with Dyson Racing when we finished on the podium,” said Meyrick. “Obviously, our aspirations for this race are more modest than that. We head to Monterey with the aim of finishing the race, gathering lots of data and showing the potential that the car has to offer.”
Legge has performed the bulk of the testing work heading into Monterey. Her test day at Roebling Road was a major confidence boost.
“It was my first full day of testing I’ve had in years!” said Legge. “But the DeltaWing ran really well all day. We’ve made a lot of progress. It was so great for me to work and interact with the guys, for them to see what I’m like as a driver for me to see how they are like. It’s really a positive environment and when it came to driving the car, we’re going in a good direction.”
Coming from open-wheel racing, where Legge last raced in IndyCar in 2012, she found the transition to the DeltaWing to be fairly smooth. She explained that the high-downforce nature of Mazda Raceway, where handling and cornering take precedence on setup over straight-line speed, the DeltaWing should react well.
“I think this car will handle very favorably at Mazda Raceway,” said Legge. “It is such a high downforce circuit. Plus elevation changes are a big deal, and we did have the chance to test at Road Atlanta, which is similar.”
Legge has sports car experience in Europe, in the DTM series, but last performed driver changes in the 2007 24 Hours of Daytona. She and Meyrick will work together to perfect those changes this week.
The American Le Mans Series Monterey airs Sunday, May 12, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Qualifying and the race will both be live streamed on ESPN3. Qualifying is live, Friday, May 10, at 7:45 p.m. ET (P1 qualifying gets going at 8:40 p.m. ET), and the race is live Saturday, May 11, at 6:15 p.m. ET.