Don Panoz filed in 2013 a lawsuit in Georgia claiming that Nissan Motor Corp. copied the unusual shape of his DeltaWing race car. And now, he is taking his claims to new level by running a series of print ads targeted at Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn.
One of the ads – making its way in the Nashville Tennessean (June 13) and in Automotive News (June 23) is an open letter to Ghosn requesting for a meeting between the two of them regarding the design of Nissan’s ZEOD RC race car.
Panoz said in the ad that while DeltaWing Technologies doesn’t believe that Ghosn intended to use the design ideas of others without proper compensation or recognition, it is “exactly what has happened.”
A spokesman for DeltaWing remarked that Panoz has tried mediation outside of the court, but Nissan dismissed the offer as well as other attempts for a solution.
Nissan was a sponsor of the DeltaWing race car, which surprised the racing world in 2012 with its narrow front track and wide rear track – something regarded as unstable for both street and race cars.
Nissan’s ZEOD RC, which features a shape similar to the DeltaWing, managed to complete an 8.5-mile lap on battery power with a top speed of 186 mph during testing at Le Mans. ZEOD RC, however, broke down five laps into the race due to transmission issues.
Al Speyer, president of the DeltaWing project, told Automotive News in April that Panoz could propose to give Nissan exclusive rights to use the shape for its electric cars like the BladeGlader Concept, while DeltaWing would retain licensing rights for conventional cars.
Nissan, however, said that Panoz’s claims have no merit, and vowed to fight them in court. [source: automotive news - sub. required]