Battling for the lead throughout the race, the DeltaWing finishes fifth overall and third in P1 class
The DeltaWing fulfilled its promise today, as the revolutionary prototype saw the front of the field for the first time, leading 16 laps on its way to a fifth place finish overall in the Orion Energy Systems 245 at Road America.
The race also marked another milestone for the DeltaWing – the first time the car had raced in the rain. Undaunted by the changing conditions, the DeltaWing battled the other P1 cars through the entire race, with Katherine Legge and Andy Meyrick leading eight laps each.
Legge started the race in fourth position and was happy to discover the car handled the wet conditions with ease. The DeltaWing’s inherent straight line speed advantage combined with the increased grip in the rain made it possible for Legge to pass the third place Dyson Mazda at the start. After pitting for slick tires as the track dried out, Legge held the fastest race lap time before taking the lead on lap 20.
Meyrick took the wheel on lap 30 after a round of pit stops and worked hard to keep the Muscle Milk prototype behind him for as long as possible. After a splash for fuel late in the race which put them in fifth position, the team was certain most of the cars ahead of them would have to pit as well. A late race yellow thwarted the expected finish on the overall podium, but both drivers were very pleased with the team’s performance.
“The car was really quick in the rain!” said Legge. “The team made a great call to pit when we did to change to slick tires. We were a bit unlucky at the end with the yellow which meant everyone could make it on fuel.
“Everyone has worked extremely hard and every time we go out we improve. But today, we really proved what the essence of the DeltaWing is all about. Dr. Panoz’s dream of showing how revolutionary the car is was realized. Everything worked well today, including our Bridgestone tires - we were able to do a splash and dash at the end and not have to change tires.”
“It was a phenomenal job by the team,” agreed Meyrick. “We’re happy but also a little disappointed, because I think we really could have gotten second place overall – but to be disappointed at not finishing second shows how this project is moving forward. It’s a development project and along with Élan Technologies and Bridgestone, it’s been an incredible job. We’ve never run in this car in the wet and it’s a testament to the car and the entire program that it handled the conditions so well.”
“When we were behind the wheel, we both had it in our heads that the Muscle Milk guys weren’t going to get past. We both tried but they were really quick in traffic. It does show how far we’ve come – we were really quick in our straight line speeds. We’ve worked hard on the chassis; we really held our own today.”
The team’s managing partner, Dr. Don Panoz, was proud of the team’s accomplishment.
“The car showed very well, said Panoz. “The caution was a bit of a disappointment but the team and the drivers did a great job.”
Next up for the DeltaWing will be the Circuit of the Americas September 19 – 21, the American Le Mans Series first visit to the stunning new Austin, Texas facility. The race will be shown on ESPN2 on Sunday at 1:00pm EDT, with the live race broadcast on ESPN3.com at 3:45pm on Saturday.