It captured the imagination of fans and media around the world at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, now the Nissan DeltaWing is headed back to its "birthplace" to complete unfinished business.
The unique race car which features half the weight, half the power and half the aerodynamic drag of a typical Le Mans sporstcar was originally unveiled 12 months ago at Petit Le Mans when Michelin tires was revealed as the program's first technical partner.
The Project 56 DeltaWing group soon teamed up with major technical partner Nissan for the Le Mans assault that took advantage of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest's Garage 56 concept - allowing new and innovative technology to be showcased at the world's greatest endurance race.
Powered by the 300 horsepower, 1.6 litre Nissan DIG-T engine, the unique packaging of the Nissan DeltaWing including the dramatically narrow front end and lack of traditional aerodynamic wings was a major hit in France. However, contact with a P1 prototype after six hours of the endurance classic forced the car out of the race early.
The attack on Petit Le Mans represents "unfinished business" for the Nissan DeltaWing squad. The team - now featuring American ace Gunnar Jeannette and former Nissan Playstation GT Academy winner Lucas Ordoñez behind the wheel - is targeting a race finish at the 1000 mile / 10 hour Petit Le Mans event.
The "homecomng" Petit Le Mans race is the first event in North America for the car which was "Born in the USA". Concept originator Ben Bowlby acutally had his first meeting with Automobile Club de l'Ouest at the Petit Le Mans in 2010. He was later joined in the partnership by racing legend Dan Gurney's All-American Racers organization who built the Nissan DeltaWing; two-time ALMS championship winning team, Highcroft Racing's Duncan Dayton; project patron and multiple IndyCar title and Indy 500 winning team owner, Chip Ganassi; and American Le Mans Series founder, Dr. Don Panoz.
Panoz also founded the Petit Le Mans race in 1998. This year's race will be the 15th running of what has become renowned as one of the world's great endurance events.
The "homecoming" connection also includes the Atlanta race being only 250 miles from Nissan's North American headquarters in Frankkin, TN; and a mere 100 miles from Michelin North America's headquarters in Greenville, SC.