The legendary French luxury brand has this week unveiled a version close to the series of its new model, the D12. In this ultra-luxury segment, Delage has already registered several orders.
Bugatti is about to find one of its best competitors. The legendary Delage resonates his name at major automotive events. This weekend in Goodwood (UK), during the Festival of Speed, a celebration of four days of automotive beauty and sportiness, the brand has unveiled its latest model, the D12.
As a Formula 1 approved for the road
This model is the first to be launched since the end of car production by Delage in 1953, and is called the D12. Exclusive – only 30 copies will be produced – and sporty – the maximum speed is limited to 360 km / h -, the D12 is positioned in the segment of hypercars, such as the Bugatti Chiron, Pagani Hyuara or even Koenigsegg Gemera. With a particular philosophy: to get closer to the sensations felt behind the wheel of a Formula 1 in a model approved for the road. The dream will be worth the trifle of 2 million euros without taxes per copy.
This rebirth was desired by Laurent Tapie. Passionate about the car and motor sports, Bernard Tapie’s son has gathered investors around him, from big names like Xavier Niel or François Pinault to passionate heads of SMEs like him.
“Bugatti was very well revived by Volkswagen 20 years ago. Delage deserved the same opportunity, Laurent Tapie told us at his stand at Goodwood, between two discussions with collectors. We brought together a team of technicians and investors, very essentially French. “That’s the big difference with Bugatti. We have a pretty different group. It’s a fundraiser I did two years ago, before I did it all with my own funds.”
Three and a half years after the start of the project, Laurent Tapie is currently registering the first orders for his D12, including a French buyer and several Americans. So, this Saturday a collector customer is waiting to come to Goodwood to sign his order form, along with the 000 copy of the D12 on display. And the French blue color of the car on the nose reminiscent of Formula 1 is no accident: this car is mostly a French car.
A model made in France
All the development is carried out in Magny-Cours (Nièvre), in the technology park next to the old Formula 1 circuit, by Benoit Bagur, the technical director. If Delage relies on well-known names, such as Exagon Motors, for development, from the nose to the rear diffuser, “everything is homemade,” sums up Benoit Bagur. Even the atmospheric V12 engine was designed internally (these days there are few manufacturers for this type of engine).
The engineer started from the drawings made by Laurent Tapie and the know-how very specialized in motor sport of a small team of specialists to design this D12. Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has to carry out development and behavior on the model circuit. Because the goal is also to break speed records with this model that reaches 1100 horsepower. Everything will be made to measure in the cab, from the bucket seat, the steering wheel, the pedals modeled and installed according to the morphology of the driver, to the materials and colors of the interior.
First deliveries at the end of 2023
The agenda is very tight. “We started the project in January 2019, the first prototype shot in May of this year,” explains Benoit Bagur. “Here we went far enough to save time later on the prototype so that it was as close as possible to the final car.” Production will begin in the first quarter of 2023 before the first deliveries at the end of the year.
Delage does not provide any figures but the cost of developing the model is a double-digit number, not counting even marketing, participation in events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the United States. For Laurent Tapie, the market will be divided between Europe, the United States and other countries.
There is already a second model in the boxes, less radical, with two seats next to each other and not one behind the other as in the D12. Another innovation: this second model should be hybrid.