California Competition Begins with Long Beach, the DeltaWing Coupe’s street circuit debut
Following a successful two-day test last week, the Claro/TracFone DeltaWing Racing Cars team heads west for the first of two TUDOR United SportsCar Championship events in the Golden State – Saturday’s Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach.
While the 100-minute race on the historic Long Beach circuit marks the first street race for the DeltaWing, drivers Katherine Legge and Memo Rojas have had their share of success here. Legge won her first race in the United States in 2005, the Formula Atlantic event in Long Beach, becoming the first woman to win a major North American open-wheel race. The DeltaWing Coupe will be the fifth different chassis Legge has raced at Long Beach (Atlantics, Lola Champ Car, Panoz DP01 Champ Car and DW12 IndyCar), a feat very few drivers can claim. Rojas won the first TUDOR Championship event in Long Beach last year, his first trip to the famed street course.
The event also marks the first race for new race engineer, Catherine Crawford. Currently the senior project manager at Crawford Composites in North Carolina, she has a record of success as an aerodynamicist and engineer with numerous sports car and open wheel teams, including Starworks, Team Sahlen, Dragon Racing (working with Legge at Indianapolis in 2012) and Jordan F1. She succeeds Alan Mugglestone, who has moved on to new opportunities in Europe but remains with the team as a consultant.
“I’ve been very lucky to have driven some amazing cars at Long Beach. You learned something you can take forward from each one of them. This place is very close to my heart, as it was the scene of my first win in America, and that really catapulted my career. It’s a fantastic circuit in a gorgeous location and it’s such a storied track. Every time you race there is special, but this time will be even more so, since it’s the first time the DeltaWing will race there. I think the car will run well, with the long straights and tight corners. It will be great to work with Catherine again. I have a great deal of admiration for what she’s achieved. Alan has been great, we’ll really miss him but it’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes looking at things.”
“The test was very successful, getting rid of some of lingering issues. And it was a great chance to work with our new race engineer; I’m very excited to work with her. Long Beach has so much history with so many drivers and so many classes, from Formula One and IndyCar to sports cars. Growing up, it’s one of the tracks you want to race at and win at – and I’ve been lucky enough to do both. This is the first street race for the DeltaWing, but I think the acceleration and the tight corners will suit the car just fine.”
Team Manager Tim Keene
“We haven’t started out the year the way we hoped and we’re still searching for that good result. We hope that starts in Long Beach. We had a good test last week, worked on mapping mostly, and everything is moving in a positive direction. And it was a good chance for our new race engineer to get up to speed. We know what the car is capable of and Long Beach has the potential to be a good circuit for us because the car is so good under braking and acceleration. Long Beach is one of the races you want to be at. The Saturday crowd is so huge; it feels as though we’re playing in front of as many fans as you did in the first two races combined.”
Race Engineer Catherine Crawford
“This is very interesting to me because you actually get to do design work, which you don’t get to do much of in sports car racing anymore. The DeltaWing still has a good amount of development that’s possible. I was at the test last week and it was definitely a learning experience! It’s such a different car. So it was a little bit of feeling my way around and asking questions. By the second day, I got my feet under me a little. I’m still asking questions; I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but I still need to learn.”
The Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase will be broadcast live on IMSA.com from 7:05 – 8:45 p.m. ET, with a replay on FOX Sports 1 Sunday, April 19 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Claro Video and TracFone Wireless, Inc., are subsidiaries of Mexico’s largest telecommunications group América Móvil. Claro (the name means “bright” or “clear”) is an innovative VOD streaming service, while TracFone operates as a mobile virtual network operator.
DELTAWING RACING CARS
Under the guidance of Managing Partner Don Panoz, DeltaWing Racing Cars builds and maintains the revolutionary DeltaWing coupe. The radically innovative sports car prototype takes efficiency to a new level, as the DeltaWing® architecture vastly reduces overall mass and drag. The result is a race car that is approximately half the weight, half the horsepower and uses half the fuel of its competitors. The unique efficiency approach is changing street-legal vehicles as Panoz works to take the DeltaWing® platform from the racetrack to tomorrow’s roads. The DeltaWing team operates out of Braselton, Georgia.