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The aerodynamic forces on a formula race car can improve or worsen its performance; therefore the Brazilian Formula FEI Racing Team introduced the first aerodynamic design based on CFD with CD-adapco, software provider of STAR-CCM+ and test track data acquisition. The targets were: increase speed on the corner (constant radius 7,5m to 22,5m, hairpin, slalom and chicanes), so Formula SAE track competition; increase 30% the maximum lateral acceleration; increase 25% the longitudinal acceleration; wide setup range, because the Formula SAE tracks feature are so variable; understand the dynamic behavior; Compare the CFD data with real data results.

Image 1: Formula SAE tracks feature


The design restrictions were: Formula SAE rules dimensional and position restrictions; Load tire sensitivity; Avoid porpoising effects; therefore describe a particular fault encountered in ground effect in other words fault downforce when the ground clearance is so low as the suspension height works. The development of the aerodynamic package design began with the single element airfoil, multiple elements airfoils, rear wing, front wing and the full car. There was involving optimum conditions on CFD studies through algorithm tools offered on software Star-CCM+. The single airfoil developments focus in obtaining the biggest downforce level and good aerodynamic efficiency (ratio downforce per drag force). The optimization initiated based on Selics airfoils design, which input in a 2D CFD simulation with some commands variable of a parametric model. There were variable the mains characteristics of the airfoil: camber angle, thickness and attack angle. Thus the 2D CFD simulation results the personalize Saboia airfoil.

Image 2: Saboia Airfoil

The multiple element airfoil design used the Saboia airfoil to the dual element configuration. That based on 2D CFD simulation optimization with command variable of a parametric model. There were variable the position between main foil and flap, angle attack, but the flap chord dimension had its proportion with main foil chord locked. Hence the 2D CFD simulation obtained the best position of the gap interval between main foil and flap, and the maximum attack angle of the flap.


Image 3: 2D CFD dual element optimization position between main foil and flap.

The rear wing design was used a main foil chord dimension value, which value was determinate by the targets forces will have with the aerodynamic package, that was restriction about the load tire sensitivity. Then the flap chord dimension had the same proportional value studied previously. The 3D CFD model was used to obtain better approximations with expected results.

Image 4: 3D CFD rear wing

The front wing was a more complex development than the rear wing, because the front wing has the influence of ground effect and perturbation of the wheels turbulence. The aerodynamic balance (moment ratio between front wing and rear wing) was defined rearward with a prediction value. That value was determined by the characteristic of the dynamic comportment of the car without wings. Then the 3D CFD optimization about ground clearance variation, there was include the main wing and ground movement with medium roughness of race track asphalt. That results in a proportional value of ground

clearance per chord of main wing. After that began the full front 3D CFD optimization simulation, which included front wheels movement, ground movement with medium roughness of race track asphalt, the same proportional position between main foil and flap studied previously, locked with maximum attack angle, the same flap chord at rear wing, and the variation of chord dimension of the front main wing to obtain the aerodynamic balance intended.

Image 5: measure the race track asphalt roughness

Image 6: 3D CFD optimization ground clearance


Image 7: 3D CFD front wing optimization chord dimension of main wing

The next step was the full 3D CFD simulation, that was to include the complete car in a symmetry model with wheels movement, ground movement with medium roughness of race track asphalt. The keys design factors were ventilation of engine radiator region, how the turbulence intro the car, and how the turbulence influence of the downforce and drag force generate. The Formula SAE rules delimit the wing position, that design was chosen the position of the rear wing as the most rearward possible to favor the aerodynamic balance, but the height of rear wing was variable to final definition at drag forces, aerodynamic balance control and take off the almost turbulence intro the rear wing.

Image 8: 3D CFD full car isometric view pressure on the body and streamlines.


Image 9: 3D CFD full car lateral view pressure on middle plane.

Image 10: 3D CFD full car lateral view pressure on the body and streamlines.

The final process was the track validation. This track was made in steady state on straight of the 400 meters, and finally the compare with CFD results. The track validation consist in instrumentation with strain gage on the pull rods, Pitot tube, position sensor of damper, ride height sensor and weather station. The strain gage on the pull rods captured the forces of sprung mass, in others words the forces that go to the tires. Thus the aerodynamic moment was obtained with a deviation of approximate 20% less than CFD study.


Image 11: Instrumentation with strain gage on the pull rod.

Image 12: Prototype FFRT RS8 in track test

All the simulations with software STAR-CCM+ were made in steady state. Thus, below critical situation which is unsteadiness occur in the body corner. That critical situation is transient state. However the data from track validation was made in same situation of CFD studies, and the deviation was small against the others boundary conditions of real condition, that did not include in CFD simulation. Formula FEI Racing Team is now a happy STAR-CCM+ user and a lot of confidence was gained in order to improve our future designs. Thank you Global Academic Program. REFERENCES Competition Car Aerodynamics Simon Mc Beath Race Car Aerodynamics, Design for Speed Josef Katz Race Car Vehicle Dynamics William F. Milliken and Douglas L. Milliken The Steve Portal CD-adapco