Thanks to my membership of the GTROC Executive Club I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Nissan Deltawing Team on Sunday during the Le Mans 24 Hour Race. But the story doesn’t quite start there…..
We were told to meet up at the Nissan Welcome Centre which was situated near to the Porsche Curves. We mustered around outside as the two GROC Board members Rob and John chatted to us. After waiting for any late comers to arrive John started to hand out some very fetching Nissan branded wrist straps. With these secured around our wrists we were ushered into the Welcome Centre.
A pair of smartly dressed young ladies greeted us and indicated that we should go upstairs. We trooped into a nicely appointed room with a bar in the far corner and a battery of flatscreens showing racing footage and the results tables. More importantly there was a terrace with an excellent view across to the circuit. More importantly again the bar was serving. I noted that a few of my fellow GTROCers had availed themselves of the bar and were sipping glasses of fresh orange juice. I noted at the back of the bar draught beer was on tap. Being certain that at least somewhere in the world it was past noon I enjoyed a lovely cold glass of beer. With the new ACO regulations about glass at the circuit this was particularly satisfying. I guess that the others were waiting for someone to be first as I soon noticed a rush for the bar.
John gathered us together and set out the timetable for the day. We were to split into groups and be taken to the DeltaWing pit for a guided tour. We could then have a wonder around the back of the pits and when we’d had enough of that return to the Welcome Centre for a visit to the Sky Table. At our allotted time my group was sheparded to a Nissan golf buggy and driven round to the pits. We were greeted by a Nissan PR fellow whose name I did catch but have since forgotten (sorry, I blame the orange juice). We were lead into a darkened room to watch two videos about the development of the DeltaWing and the concepts behind its unique configuration.
To those who did not follow the race I should explain at this point that the DeltaWing was no running in the race at this point. Amazingly on it first outing the car had performed excellently but had been broadsided by a Toyota Prius and not been repairable by the driver. We were then taken into the area above the pits for a Q&A session which would have involved seeing the car had it still been running. It was particularly sad to see the distinctive taped outline of the car on the pit apron.
With the tour completed we had a little wonder around the back of the pits before John hailed us another golf buggy to take us back to the Welcome Centre. All this technical stuff and travelling had built up a thirst. However this was not the end of the events. The final item on the itinerary was the Sky Table.
A pair of promotional girls gathered us together and led us off to the Sky Table. As luck would have it a pair of GTROCers was able to escort the girls all the way to entry point for the Sky Table. Judging by the close proximity they were keeping to the girls I suspect that they were worried that rouge Tiger might at any time pounce and they would be forced to throw themselves in the beast’s path to stop the girls from being mauled. In a particular twist of fate no Tigers presented themselves which I for one felt was a lucky escape.
Once seated at the Sky Table our hosts Scottish chap called Crow (I think he said) and another gent who’s name I didn’t catch though did a more than passable impersonation of a Dalek whipped us into a frenzy of excitement (or as close as you can get whist strapped to a chair) and up we went. Our ascent to the heavens was very smooth and once at altitude the whole table started to rotate providing a 360 degree view of the Porsche Curves. Crow and his colleague dished out some soft drinks whilst we proceeded to snap as many pictures as we could without dropping our cameras or missing the numerous ‘Mexican waves’ instigated by Crow.
What comes up must come down and eventually we returned to Earth. We can just enough time for a celebratory glass of champagne (or two) before high tailing it back to our grandstand seats to watch the closing moments of the race. It was an excellent end to an excellent series of events and I am sure that I can speak for everyone when I pass my heartfelt thanks to Robbie and particularly John for organising everything and making it such excellent fun!
DeltaWing Merchandise coming to the GTROC shop soon!