The Nissan DeltaWing race car was nothing if not ambitious; the automaker hoped its dart-shaped LMP car would consume half the fuel and half as many tires as other entrants in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Unfortunately, that goal was never fully put to the test as the DeltaWing crashed just six hours and 623 miles into the endurance race.
When the safety car finally left the track after a long period of running under caution, the Nissan DeltaWing was hit by one of Toyota’s hybrid Le Mans race cars. The accident sent the DeltaWing into a wall at Porsche Curves. Driver Satoshi Motoyama tried to restart the race car and spent 90 minutes frantically working on the car at the side of the race track — with guidance from teammates on the other side of the fence– but was unable to restart the DeltaWing. Reluctantly, Nissan decided to have the car towed back to the pits.
Before the accident, the DeltaWing had clocked a fastest lap of 3:42, and its fuel usage was on pace to match the goal of using only half the fuel of typical LMP2 race cars. Tire wear was also impressive; the team changed tires only once during the car’s five hours in the race.
“The last time I was at Le Mans my car broke down, but this time it was ten times tougher to fix,” Motoyama said in a statement. “I tried everything I could but, since the powertrain damage was particularly serious, we couldn’t revive the car.”
You can watch Motoyama attempting to repair his Nissan DeltaWing race car in the video below.