Pop quiz: what’s the best way for a car company to flex its technical prowess? Full marks if you answered ‘Le Mans 24 Hours’. So, do put your hands together and welcome Nissan’s most radical motorsport project to date – the Nissan DeltaWing.

The twist to the story is this; the Nissan DeltaWing will not be classified in the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours but nevertheless, the company is looking to show what its pioneering technology can do to push the sport further. Also, as expected, the DeltaWing will serve to be a test bed for future technologies that will appear in subsequent Nissan’s road car range.

Now, usually you’d expect to find a V-engine or an engine that could displace the volume of the sun. Not with the DeltaWing because it’s engine in tiny – a race-prepared 1.6-litre four-cylinder DIG-T engine. By the way, DIG-T stands for Direct Injection Gasoline – Turbocharged, and it is the same one used in the top shelf Juke DIG-T.

This 300 hp tyke is said to give the DeltaWing lap times between LMP1 and LMP2 machines in spite having only half the power those race monsters usually produce.

Unlike the usual racers, the driver of the DeltaWing will sit at the back of the car closer to the rear axle. He will look down on the long nose of the car, much like looking down the barrel of a gun. The engine is rear mounted, which gives it a heavy behind. Nissan says this configuration makes the DeltaWing highly manoeuvrable, while its light body and aerodynamic shape gives it better efficiency.

It is because of how this racecar is designed that the organiser of Le Mans 24 Hours invited the DeltaWing to run the race from ‘Garage 56’, the pitlane reserved for experimental cars. Because the racer does not conform to any regulation, it will not be able to win any silverware. Also, it will wear the number ‘0’.

What Nissan hopes to get out of this experiment is to improve on its PureDrive aerodynamics and efficiency package for road cars. PureDrive, for the uninitiated, is Nissan’s catchphrase for economical and efficient vehicles.

Confirmed drivers for the race are Mario Franchitti and Michael Krumm, who is Nissan’s reigning FIA GT1 World Champion. We’ll bring you more updates and hopefully tell you how the car fares on track when the time comes.