So if I haven’t made it abundantly clear I never liked the DeltaWing. I always thought it was a neat engineering experiment but as a true race car? No, 1000 times no. The fact that good people spent good time developing a flawed concept always annoyed me. Frankly the good folks over at Panoz could have been devoting their time and energy and considerable expertise to something else. The fact that it looked like a rolling women’s entertainment aide didn’t help its cause. Sure it had some moments, leading the Daytona 24 Hours on outright pace was impressive. However, moments like that were too infrequent to justify the effort.
With IMSA poised to begin a new era in prototypes with their new DPi formula it appeared the DeltaWing was going to be left out in the cold. That however was not the case, as IMSA made the announcement earlier this year that the DeltaWing would be given 1 last hurrah. They were going to give the DeltaWing special exception to race in the 2017 Daytona 24. Like the knight in Monty Python, it seemed like the DeltaWing just would not die. It was going to live forever. Hell they were even thinking on transitioning to a GT car which is just about the most terrible idea in the history of terrible ideas.
Yesterday we received some truly excellent news. In an official announcement Panoz has officially confirmed the DeltaWing will not be racing at Daytona. The program is officially done. The DeltaWing is no more. Praise be to Jesus! (or whatever deity you believe in)
“We have decided not to race in the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona,” said a statement on the team’s Twitter page. “It has been an incredible four years racing the most innovative car on the track, but as an organization, Don Panoz decided to focus our efforts on other DeltaWing and Panoz projects.”
It is believed that lack of spares and funding led to the DeltaWing’s demise. Plus Panoz wants to persue other projects, specifically a race program with their brand new, though it doesn’t look it, Esperante Avezzano. A while back we reported that Panoz would be making it into a race car. We now know it will be in GT4 trim.
Tom Milner will lead the project. The former Prototype Technology Group team owner, Milner joins Panoz Racing as a 40-year motorsports veteran. Milner had retired from racing back in 2013 but has been lured out of retirement to re-join Panoz. Milner had previously spent time with Panoz developing and running the Abruzzi in 2010-11. In addition Milner campaigned Panoz Esperantes in the American Le Mans Series with his PTG team.
“I’m happy to be working again with my good friend Don Panoz,” Milner said. “Our goal is simple: prepare the best Avezzano GT race car we can, put together a program that will make Panoz and its fans proud, and have some fun while we’re at it. We are examining the series opportunities here in North America as well as in Europe and elsewhere and will share that decision down the road.”
With GT3 costs on the rise its little brother, GT4 is up and coming. Ford embraced the formula with its new Mustang GT4. Sure we would have liked to see a GT3 Version of the Esperante Avezzano, mostly to see it compete in the American Endurance Classics (Daytona and Sebring). That does not appear to be the case as however it does serve 1 hugely important purpose. It requires resources and funding that has resulted in the final nail in the DeltaWing’s coffin. THAT is reason enough to race this thing in any guise.