Delage is a name that most people won’t likely know. The French manufacturer was founded in 1905. It produced its last car almost 70 years ago. Well, the Delage D12 plans to bring the once-famous, luxury and sportscar brand back to the fore. The latest member of the hypercar club was first shown about two years ago, and a working prototype was in action at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed (see video at the bottom of this post).
Delage was quite successful in the world of motorsport in the early 1900s. Company founder Louis Delage campaigned cars in Grand Prix racing of the mid-1920s, and his entry (pictured) famously claimed overall victory at the 1914 Indianapolis 500. In more recent times cars from the maker have won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
French businessman Laurent Tapie has revived Delage for the new millennium. Delage D12 is the rejuvenated company’s first new model. Just 30 units of the road-legal D12 will be produced. It may appear as though it has just a single seat but a passenger chair is mounted directly behind the driver. The US-built extreme Czinger 21C has a similar seating layout. Occupants access the cabin through a jet-fighter-style canopy as the D12 has no doors.
This new supercar is based around a carbon-fibre monocoque. It features racecar-style pushrod suspension. Carbon-fibre body panels are accompanied by carbon fibre wheels that were designed to channel airflow to cool the brakes. The steering ‘wheel’ handles are custom-fit to the driver’s hands while a carbon-fibre seat is shaped around the driver’s body.
A 7,6-litre V12 sits behind the passenger cell of the carbon-fibre monocoque. This naturally aspirated engine revs to over 8 000 r/min and it is allied to an electric motor. This combination produces 820 kW of power in a top-spec GT version and a slightly lower 753 kW in the track-focused and lighter Club version. Delage says D12 has a top speed over 390 km/h. The D12 will attack the Nürburgring Nordschleife next year in an attempt to set a production car lap record.
Tapie says he wants the D12 to claim the record for the fast street-legal car around the Nürburgring. Delage wants the D12 to be “the closest to the sensation of driving a Formula One car that has ever been experienced in a street legal car”. The company’s technical team is led by Benoît Bagur who has worked at Citroën Sport, Seat Sport and Ligier. Former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve is one of Delage’s test drivers.