Panoz DeltaWing Racing claimed it made history in the 54th staging of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona over the weekend at Daytona Beach, Florida after female driver Katherine Legge took the racing coupe to the front within the first hour of the race.
“We’re really at a stage now where we’re showcasing what it’s got,” said Legge when talking about the car. “I’m proud of the team, I’m proud that they gave me a really good car, and I’m proud of the job that I did, as well.”
The coupe consistently ran at an impressive pace, at first chasing then passing the leaders. Both Legge and Andy Meyrick led a combined total of 29 laps out of the 119 completed before disaster struck when the coupe made contact with a Prototype Car that was stationary on the track.
“It was very unfortunate. The car was in a blind spot with no lights on and it was unavoidable,” said Meyrick. “The radio was intermittent and unfortunately the combined situation resulted in an accident that caused a very successful day to end too soon. I was catching back up with the leader and it’s a real shame we weren’t able to get back up there and enjoy the result we should have had.”
In the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, the DeltaWing race car qualified strong but still failed to finish over reliability issues. Legge and Meyrick – along with Alexander Rossi and Gabby Chavez – started seventh in the car’s debut in 2014 and completed 288 laps before the car’s retirement, resulting in a 16th-place finish in the Prototype class. Last year, the car qualified fifth but Legge, Meyrick, Chavez and Memo Rojas retired after 42 laps in 15th place.
For 2016, the team focused in reliability so its DeltaWing car could make it to the finish line.
“In looking at reliability, you have to look at more than just the components themselves,” Keene said. “You take into consideration as to how parts and pieces are installed, looking for signs of any parts rubbing, or chaffing of the wiring and that sort of thing. Also you look at the data to ensure your gearing is correct, and that you won’t be hitting the rev limiter, which can cause damage to the driveline.”
But this year, the DeltaWing failed to finish because it bumped a stationary race car during the race.
The team is eyeing the next IMSA race at Florida for the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 17 to 20.
DELTAWINGRACING AND IMSA.COM