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New Directions in Race Car Aerodynamics by Joseph Katz - Excerpt from Chapter 6: Aerodynamics of the Complete Vehicle

New Directions in Race Car Aerodynamics by Joseph Katz - Excerpt from Chapter 6: Aerodynamics of the Complete Vehicle

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Published by Bentley Publishers
An excerpt from Chapter 6: Aerodynamics of the Complete Vehicle, from the acclaimed technical reference book New Directions in Race Car Aerodynamics by Joseph Katz. For more information on this automotive engineering textbook, visit http://www.bentleypublishers.com/product.htm?code=gaer
An excerpt from Chapter 6: Aerodynamics of the Complete Vehicle, from the acclaimed technical reference book New Directions in Race Car Aerodynamics by Joseph Katz. For more information on this automotive engineering textbook, visit http://www.bentleypublishers.com/product.htm?code=gaer

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Published by: Bentley Publishers on Apr 05, 2012
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197
6
Aerodynamics of theComplete Vehicle
Introduction
Just as racing success is measured in terms o time, so can the dierence betweenthe brilliant and less competent designs be measured by time: The winners areusually those who are the quickest to properly implement a new idea, i.e., by taking ewer iterations to arrive at the right solution. Resources or large budgetsare equivalent to time, so a large budget is oten exchangeable with wisdom.Given sucient time, teams with bad designs or lack o support, or both, willeventually reach the right solution—but in the meantime the brilliant (or theover-supported) teams will be working on their next trick. A careul observer o the technological advances in the various orms o motorsport can clearly seethe migration o good and bad ideas among the various teams.This short prologue is aimed at explaining the large number o black-magictricks that appear as aerodynamic modications—and why some o the weirdesto all came rom the best-supported teams. Because those teams could (and stillcan) aord the largest number o trial and errors (mostly mistakes), they haveseen the winner’s circle more oten—which does not necessarily mean that they always had the best aerodynamic design.The preceding chapters ocused our attention on the basic disciplinesinfuencing vehicle design and aerodynamics. In this chapter this inormationwill be used to examine both generic body shapes applicable to high-speedvehicle design and some o the components aimed at improving the aerodynamicperormance o various race cars. Later on I will ocus on those tricks that didwork, and or the sake o brevity will ignore those that did not (e.g., doublefoors, three wings, with one above the driver, etc.).In order to simpliy this initial discussion, the numerous shapes o race carsare grouped into three generic categories:
•
Sedan-based race cars: IMSA GTU, GTO, NASCAR, European Touring, etc.These cars bear strong resemblance in their outer lines to their passengercar sibling, and only minor aerodynamic modications are allowed. Fig. 6-1shows one such a vehicle (1993, IMSA GTS Class) with open windows, butno opening doors (which is a widely used concept).
•
Enclosed-wheel race cars: IMSA GTP, FISA group C, etc. These vehicles arebasically the designer’s dream, since the body shape is mostly unrestricted.Most leagues allow underbody tunnels (venturis) and complex wing shapes.Fig. 6-2 depicts an example.
•
Open-wheel race cars: Indy, Formula 1, 2, etc. These vehicles have ourexposed wheels, a narrow body which may have underbody tunnels (Indy 
 
198
Chapter 6: Aerodynamics of the Complete Vehicle
cars), and two large wings mounted at the ront and rear ends o the vehicleor aerodynamic downorce. These race cars are single seaters while theprevious two categories, in principle, must have a wider seating area. Fig. 6-3shows an example.The discussion that ollows begins with several basic aerodynamicobservations relevant to the three vehicle categories. These fuid dynamicphenomena then can be used as building blocks in a hypothetical, conceptualvehicle design. More detailed geometrical concepts aimed at improving vehicleaerodynamics are presented later in the chapter. In general, the sedan-based andprototype race cars have a more promising potential or an ecient aerodynamic
Fig. 6-1.
A typical  production-based race car; the 1992/3 Nissan300ZX Twin-Turbo (only the exterior resembles,vaguely, the productionvehicle). Dennis Ashlock  photo.
Fig. 6-3.
A typical open-wheel race car:1992 Williams FW14B,Formula One. Richard Dole photo.
Fig. 6-2.
A typical  prototype race car: the 1992 Jaguar XJR-14.Courtesy o TWR USA.
 
199
Basic Vehicle Body Concepts
design. This is because the aerodynamic components o an open-wheel race carare within the disturbed fow eld created by the our large, exposed wheels andtheir wakes.
Basic Vehicle Body Concepts
The discussion on the eect o aerodynamics on vehicle perormance (Chapter5) clearly indicates that the typical objectives o a good aerodynamic design are1) to reduce drag and 2) to increase the downorce (not to mention reduce thesensitivity o the ront/rear downorce ratio to pitch, yaw, roll, etc.). With theseobjectives in mind let us investigate how some very generic changes in a body’sgeometry can aect its aerodynamic lit and drag. The inormation ound onthis topic in the open literature can be urther divided into two subcategories.The rst group identies typical fow elds over generic bodies with quite sharpcorners, resembling a variety o road vehicles. The second category includesadditional generic shapes, more relevant to race cars, which have the potentialto generate downorce with reasonably low drag. The ollowing two subsectionsdescribe these two groups o generic body shapes.Recall the aerodynamic data presented in Chapter 2, Fig. 2-23, on two basicellipsoid shapes with dimensions reminiscent o the ratios used on road vehicles.The important conclusion to be drawn rom this gure is that both positive andnegative lit can be generated by bodies when placed close to the ground. Drag,however, is primarily a result o the blunt rear-end shape, which creates localfow separation, as shown in Fig. 2-3 (note that skin-riction drag is usually small, as indicated in Table 2.4). While the rst type o design in Fig. 2-23 ocuses
Flow Field overGeneric GroundVehicle Shapes
Fig. 6-4.
Typical separated-ow  patterns ound on some automobile-related shapes.
A. Flat plate at angle of attackC. “Three box” bodyD. Tapered lower surface
B. Slanted upper surface
separated flowE. Basic venturi

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