The Delage revival in Goodwood

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Delage is now recognized worldwide as one of the most interesting French car brands of the first half of the 20th century. It was created in 1905 and gave birth to some of the most beautiful luxury and competition cars of its time with emblematic models such as the D8-120 S with the body of the Pourtout “Aéro Coupe” or the 15 S 8, which participated in the coronation of the world championship mark in 1927. Unfortunately, a little smaller than fifty years after its creation, the company closed its doors. Even today, its iconic models can be admired in the biggest elegance competitions and events around the world.

In love with this legendary brand, Laurent Tapie decided a few years ago to revive it. For him, this Delage of the 21st century must be a Hypercar, necessarily very exclusive.
Why Delage? For Laurent Tapie, the answer is obvious. “For me, the two most beautiful French car brands are Bugatti and Delage. The latter has also won more elegance competitions than anyone else, and Bugatti continues its history today. Therefore, if there was one French brand to revive, it was Delage! “Explains the businessman. And when we talk about the Festival of Speed, he resumes” It is known, every year you have here all Hypercars presented in a single category, that is a unique opportunity! ”

The motorsport festival

From 1932 Bucciali TAV8-32 V12 “Flèche d’Or” to MxLaren F1 is the Goodwood festival for all fine mechanics.Credit Photo – Richard Dredge

Between timed hill climbs, presentation parades, concours d’elegance or gravel rally specials, this international festival celebrates motorsport in the broadest sense by presenting just about anything that runs on two, three or four wheels. From this point of view, Adam Waterworth, CEO of Goodwood Events, sets no boundaries. “Festival of Speed ​​encompasses all aspects of mobility and their technology. We present more than 600 cars and motorcycles with the drivers who made them famous.” After an impressive 1932 Bucciali TAV8-32 V12 “Flèche d’Or” presented in the Cartier Style room, you will thus discover, just a few steps away, six McLaren F1 (!) On display right next door … so in front ” Goodwood House “and its monumental BMW sculpture, and it is the arrival of the motorcycle folds where the legendary Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Kevin Schwantz and Mick Doohan had taken the ride with their legendary machines. Soon we will resume our journey to discover an amazing 1936 Auto Union Type C with dual rear wheels. The next time, we came face to face with the electric McMurtry Spéirling self-propelled UFO, which set the record for the ascent of 39.08 seconds over the weekend. A quick cross over the track, and that is the descent towards Hypercars, through the stands of the huge manufacturers, where BMW, Aston Martin or Alfa Romeo presented new models.

Four years of development for a rebirth

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Festival of Speed ​​Goodwood 2022

Credit Photo – Richard Dredge

On Delage’s side, four years of development were needed to present this rolling prototype in the “Michelin Supercar Paddock”. This huge space dedicated to the most beautiful Supercars and Hypercars on the planet gathered about fifty combustion and / or electric cars. For Adam Waterworth, “The Festival of Speed ​​wants to offer its fans a mix of heritage and avant-garde. This year you could enjoy Delage DH V12 from 1923, just like Delage D12 from 2022. C It is this mix that makes the festival so special. ” Next to his Hypercar, Laurent Tapie returns to the general concept of the car “With the D12, I wanted to build a road-going Formula 1. A car that comes as close as possible to the driving experience of these extraordinary race cars. Race to beat the Nürburgring record in the category of road legal vehicles. ” With its streamlined front wheels separated from the car’s body, this impressive two-seater (arranged in tandem) is unlike anything known. Its design stems from a tenacious desire of its creator to “get the car homologated on the road, with as much aerodynamic support as possible.” For this it was especially necessary to work on the size of the front wing with mobile blades and above all to facilitate the passage of air through it by refining the cockpit. Like single seats with a tapered body that favors this flow on each side of the cockpit, this D12 thus assumed a central driving position to achieve unique sensations at the steering wheel and to narrow the front end.

Two hybrid versions

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Festival of Speed ​​Goodwood 2022

Laurent Tapie has decided to revive the myth in the form of a HypercarCredit photo – Matthieu Brotel

Mechanically, this carbon monocoque is powered by an atmospheric V12 developed internally with 7.6 liters of displacement, 990 hp at around 8,500 rpm and 800 Nm of torque. In addition, there are two possible types of hybridization, a semi-automatic 8-speed gearbox and a so-called “Contraactive” suspension. Benoit Bagur, technical director of the D12 project, comments on this point “Invented by Mauro Bianchi, this system, mounted as a world-exclusive on our car, makes it possible to do without a heeling stabilizer.” The Delage D12 GT is available in two versions and will have a 110 hp electric motor coupled to the V12 for a total of 1,100 hp. The D12 Club version will benefit from a smaller hybridization of 20 hp, but it will show 90 kg less on the scale! Count around 1,400 kg in working order and 30 copies planned at a base price of two million euros excluding taxes. First delivery is scheduled for the end of 2023.

On the circuit

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Festival of Speed ​​Goodwood 2022

Credit photo – Matthieu Brotel

Stunning numbers challenging Oliver Webb, today’s driver in D12. “With such a prototype in my hands, I realize it’s a sacred privilege to take the wheel!” he admits before taking his place on the starting line. 12:52 Delage and its driver are ready, while Laurent and his entire team frantically await the rest. Suddenly the starter (commissioner) lowers the arm and the D12 hurries along with the howls from its V12. Very soon, the first right-hander is in sight as Oliver drops the gears in a flame strip out of the exhaust. He accelerates fully and passes in front of “Goodwood House” before quickly connecting the few curves and straight lines that lead him to the finish line. Successful betting! Half an hour later, when the car returned to the fold, we found its owner, Laurent Tapie. “I’m very glad Delagen worked well and above all relieved that it came back in one piece … I did not think Oliver would push it so hard!” Thanks Laurent.

To summarize

A few weeks before the opening of the doors to the 2022 edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​(England), the prototype of the Delage D12 is finally ready to roll. Laurent Tapie, the brand’s new manager, was convinced of this, “we have to go to the festival, it’s the best European event to show the car to the public”. Thus, on June 25, a flagship of the French car industry came back to life in Goodwood.
By Matthew Brotel

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