Radical Delage D12 can be had in road or track guise
Historic French marque, once a formidable Bugatti rival, is revived for wild 1085bhp V12 hybrid
Revived French manufacturer Delage has begun production of its new limited-run D12 hybrid hypercar – and it has already started developing a successor that is intended to rival the Bugatti Chiron.
Originally active with luxury cars and racing machines between 1905 and 1953, Delage was revived by serial entrepreneur Laurent Tapie in 2019 with ambitious plans to produce a sleek two-seater that offers a “Formula 1 experience for the road”.
The D12 GT, which took to the hill at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed, features a 976bhp 7.6-litre V12 engine and a 109bhp electric motor that combine to offer 1085bhp and 794lb ft.
The machine has a central carbonfibre monocoque, with a frontal carbonfibre crash structure and an aluminium rear frame. The passenger sits behind the driver in a tandem configuration.
The car employs a unique contractive suspension set-up, as used to great success by McLaren and Ferrari in 1990s Formula 1, this system having been invented by Delage chassis and suspension chief Mauro Bianchi.
Bianchi works alongside technical director Benoit Bagur, who has considerable experience in rally car engineering, and chief test driver Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 champion.
Delage has now completed four examples of the D12 and work has begun on the planned limited run of 30 units, each priced from around £1.7 million.
Tapie said there had been plenty of interest in the project, adding: “The car attracts a lot of attention, because there’s nothing else like it out there.”
He noted that it was taking time to build awareness. He said: “The brand has been dormant for 70 years, so it won’t become a success overnight.”
Production will take place at Magny-Cours and Tapie estimates it will take four to five years to build the cars.
Tapie said the firm has already started design work on its second hypercar – although production won’t begin until the D12 run is complete. He told Autocar: “It will be a completely different model, more of a grand tourer two-seater like the Chiron. It will be road-legal as well, and very fast.”
He declined to give specific details but said it would, like the D12, employ a hybrid powertrain. He also hinted that he had begun design work on a third car, which would sit in a different segment again.