We’re sure someone can count how many plans were deranged by Covid over the last two years, but that someone isn’t us. What’s important is that we know the Delage D12 was one of those kicked off the tracks for a bit, but the revived French brand is still here and says its F1 car for the road is shortly headed for production. The outfit finally has a working prototype, and it’s already been sampled by potential European buyers. The wild blue looker was meant to take an honorary lap around the Miami Grand Prix circuit during last weekend’s festivities, but we’re not sure that happened. The south Florida city is home to one of Delage’s two dealers in the U.S., Specialty Car Collection. The other is Southern California Delage in Newport Beach. The D12 runner is planned to make another trip to Monterey Car Week in August this year, the same venue where Delage pre-sold a few units in 2020.
Picking up where things left off in 2020, CEO Laurent Tapie unveiled the vehicle he wants to break the Nürburgring’s passenger car lap record. There are two D12 trims, both powered by a 7.6-liter naturally aspirated V12 developed in-house, putting out 960 horsepower and shifting through an eight-speed, single-clutch automated manual transmission. In the GT trim, the ICE gets help from a 110-hp electric motor, making a total 1,100 hp. In the track-focused Club trim, the e-motor makes just 20 horses, but the vehicle loses 200 pounds and is faster around a track than the GT. The Club’s electric motor is really just used for street driving, reversing and parking.
And yes, this is a passenger car. Two occupants sit in tandem in the cockpit, the bubble canopy opening like that of a fighter jet — two traits that make the Delage D12 similar to the Czinger 21C, four if you count the carbon fiber body panels and alliteration. Tapie says the D12 separates itself from all other road cars by having a pushrod suspension. French engineer Mauro Biancchi is said to hold the patent on the pushrod design, and gave his blessing to Tapie’s team. When we get a chance to speak to Tapie, we’ll ask how his pushrod design is different than the pushrod setup Lamborghini has used in the Aventador for a decade.
This fall, the two-seater enters a production run of just 30 examples, 10 for the U.S., the remainder for the rest of the world. First deliveries are scheduled for early 2023, and buyers will get the chance to sign up for driving lessons from Delage’s development driver, ex-F1 Driver’s World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. All it will take is €2 million ($2.1M U.S.) for a base D12 before options, and getting on that list of 30 customers. For everyone else, check out Tapie’s lengthy interview with Maxim to know more about how he got the idea for the D12, why he insisted on a naturally aspirated V12, and why he wanted a racing driver over an engineer to tune the dynamics.