Chris Harris Drives the DeltaWing

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Monkey gets the lowdown on the groundbreaking racecar that is the DeltaWing and takes it for a few laps around Road Atlanta, home to the Petit Le Mans where the team crossed the finish line for the first time.

If, after discovering the DeltaWing finished the Petit Le Mans in fifth place, your first thought was "how can it compete with cars that have twice as much power?" then check out Chris Harris' latest video which sheds some light on the highly innovative racecar. Before hitting the play button, however, clear your mind of every pre-conceived idea of how a racing car works. Then sit back and watch Harris drive it around Road Atlanta before receiving a layman's explanation of the DeltaWing by its engineer and designer Ben Bowlby.

What you will discover is that the DeltaWing is a car with fundamental stability. It has a light front end with 100mm-wide tires, wishbones less than a millimeter thick and a spring and damper unit from a mountain bike. The whole set up of the car has been approached from a totally fresh perspective, particularly with regard to how it tackles corners.

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Even though the bulk of the weight and powerplant is at the back, as the amount of weight carried by the front axle, the distribution of the downforce created under the car on the front axle and the tire capacity are all in harmony, the specific contact patch load (i.e. the stress), at the front is the same at the back. Where an aircraft's weight and lift has to balance, on the DeltaWing, there's an added dimension in the form of tire distribution, so the capacity of the tire must also balance with the negative lift and weight distribution. Furthermore, tires on the Delta Wing are used much more efficiently as they are positioned very close together.

Typically on a rearward-biased car, the inside front tire is doing practically no work through the corner, while the outside front tire is doing almost all the work. But on the DeltaWing, the proximity of the two allow the load to be shared between them. The result is that the car stays rooted to the ground and can eat corners for breakfast. Follow what we're on about? Watch and listen as the auto-scribe known affectionately as Monkey lays it all down in the video clip above.

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