A lot of times when a man purchases an expensive super sporty car he gets accused of purchasing it to compensate for some downtown inadequacies. Despite the fact that the dude may just really like that particular car it doesn’t stop people from assuming he bought the car as a (and there is no PG way to say this) cock extension. Hell we have all seen the Family Guy bit where Peter is feeling sexually inadequate because his son is packing more heat then he is. So Peter goes out and buys a car that is basically a rolling penis.
Now, that is all in good fun. You mock your buddy for buying that new sports car because that must mean he’s packing brail downstairs. However if you are the type of person who is in to historic racing and you simply must have something that looks like a giant male appendage, help is at hand. Panoz is selling chassis #001 of their DeltaWing coupe.
Unfamiliar with the DeltaWing? Well it was a radical design that flipped the idea of what a prototype racecar could be. Originally the DeltaWing project started as a bid to be the IndyCar of the future. Predictably their bid failed but that didn’t stop them from wanting to go racing. The Ben Bowlby designed prototype received an invite to Le Mans Garage 56.
What made the DeltaWing so unique was the way it was shaped, skinny front nose to increase aerodynamic efficiency. Nobody thought it would work, I mean look at it, skinny tires and a small overall contact patch, this thing was destined to smash into a wall anytime it approached a turn. However, astonishingly the car worked. It was a rocketship in a straight line and it could navigate a corner. From a purely engineering perspective it was an amazing piece of kit.
Originally an open cockpit (no pun intended) the DeltaWing concept was simple, half the weight, half the power and half the drag of a conventional prototype race car. With much fanfare the car made its race debut at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans. Just over 6 hours into the race the car was forced off track which put an end to its race. To many we thought this signaled the end. It was weird it was wacky it did its race and that would be that. After all Garage 56 cars never race after their year at Le Mans.
However that was not to be the case with the DeltaWing. It would live on due to the huge buzz it created. Trying to capitalize on its popularity the American Le Mans Series allowed it to race in their 2012 season finale. The 2012 Petit Le Mans saw far better results for the DeltaWing as it finished 5th overall. Again, to many this was a perfect way to send the car off, they had proved their concept, they had proved that clever thinking could complete against the status quo. Again, the DeltaWing did not die, this time receiving an invite to compete full-time as a fully homologated car in the 2013 American Le Mans Series season.
The car never really improved on its early success. It was more of a sideshow than a serious competitor. It would draw a crowd but when it came down to competing to win races it always fell short. Sure it had the occasional flash even reaching a podium but it never lived up to expectation. Development continued and in 2013 Panoz announced a brand new coupe version of the car. Again the car was a striking piece of kit, but lacked the results. It was at this point the novelty was beginning to wear off. It was a neat concept and all credit in the world to the engineers who designed and built it. It was close to being a competive machine but never quite got there. The highlight of the DeltaWing’s career was the 2016 24 Hours of Daytona. There the DeltaWing actually led on pace and pace alone, it was a legitimate contender for overall victory. Unfortunately it met an untimely end in a vicious turn one accident, ending the last hope for victory for the DeltaWing.
I will freely admit I was never a DeltaWing fan. It was too radical, too much a departure from the norm, and frankly it looked too much like a penis for me to ever take it seriously. I love sportscar racing and I did not want this thing to succeed in the off-chance that cars of the future started to copy it and we had grids full of flying phalluses. I was happy Panoz killed the program officially in 2016.
That said, it is a piece of modern racing history and now you have a chance to purchase 1 of only 3 DeltaWing coupes ever made. Chassis #001, the very first coupe, has come up for sale on motorsportsauctions.com. So I will say it again, if you are the type of person who likes to go historic racing, or you simply want the worlds only car designed to look like a man’s downtown fun zone CLICK HERE.
Gregson is the Co-Founder of shiftinglanes.com, an automotive enthusiast website he and 2 gear head friends started for shits and giggles to write about whatever they damn well please. You can contact Shifting Lanes here to tell us how wrong we are about everything, or yell at us on Facebook or Twitter.