Posted Oct 24th 2012 2:00PM
After being sideswiped at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June and suffering a a similar accident during a practice session last week, the Nissan DeltaWing was in danger of becoming known for its crashes more than its racing prowess or unique appearance. That's why we hoped the racecar, competing in only its second race, would finish the 1,000-mile (1,609 km) endurance madness of Petit Le Mans.
Thankfully, the Nissan/Highcroft Racing team did more than just that on Saturday, running a flawless race at Road Atlanta and finishing in fifth place overall. The result could have been even higher if pass-around periods during full course cautions would have gone the team's way.
Despite finishing in the top 10 in qualifying, the DeltaWing was relegated to the back of the grid for the start of the race thanks to its unclassified status, but that changed quickly as the car went from 42nd to 8th in its first stint.
Drivers Lucas Ordonez and Gunnar Jeannette drove a smooth and steady race up to fifth place, the car's speed and efficiency helping greatly here. The DeltaWing has just half the weight and half the aerodynamic drag of a typical ALMS prototype, meaning the team could go further between pit stops and change tires less often.
Hit the jump to watch a video detailing the DeltaWing's historic finish at Petit Le Mans or check out our photos from the race in the gallery above.