Designing for Speed
How aerodynamics shapes race cars, see Chapter 1.
Using a wind tunnel for surface-flow visualization, see Chapter 3.
Air flow through underbody channels on an open-wheel race car, see Chapter 6.
Significant developments in race-car aerodynamics, see Chapter 7.
Preface vii 1. Overview: Aerodynamics and Race Cars..............1
The Impact of Aerodynamics on Vehicle Shape 1
Aerodynamic Downforce and Performance 4
Creating and Measuring Aerodynamic Forces 6
How Aerodynamics Shapes Race Cars 10
The Impact of Racing Aerodynamics on Production Cars 15
The Following Chapters 22
2. Aerodynamic Forces and Terms...................23
Basic Terminology 23
The Boundary Layer 30
Bernoulli’s Equation 34
Flow Over Bodies and the Pressure Coefficient 40
Drag, Lift, and Side Force 45
Relevant Literature 52
3. Tools of the Trade..............................55
Road Testing 56
Wind Tunnel Methods 64
Computational Methods 89
4. Airfoils and Wings..............................99
Airfoils: Basic Definitions 99
Finite Wings 115
Basic Lifting Surface Interactions 136
Examples of Various Airfoil Shapes 139
5. Aerodynamics and Vehicle Performance............147
Tire Performance 147
Vehicle Dynamics 152
The Effect of Aerodynamics on Performance 157
6. Aerodynamics of the Complete Vehicle............179
Basic Vehicle Body Concepts 181
Aerodynamics of the Complete Vehicle 188
Flow Over Wheels 194
Sliding Seals and Skirts 200
Underbody Channels (Venturis) 203
Simple Add-ons: Spoilers, Strakes, and Wickers 208
Internal Flow 214
Race Car Wings 224
7. Real-world Examples...........................243
Milestones: Historically Important Designs 243
More Current Examples 252
Appendix 1: Drag Coefficients 263 Appendix 2: Wind Tunnels 265 Index 267
About the Author
On the surface, automobile racing appears simply as a very popular sport, with its attendent media coverage and commercial sponsorships. But in reality, racing serves as a proving ground for new technology and a battlefield for the giants of the automotive industry.
Although human factors are frequently publicized as the reason behind the success or failure of one racing team or another, engine power, tire adhesion, chassis design, and, recently, aerodynamics probably play a more important role in winning this technology race.
From the historical point of view, post-World-War II automobile racing was initially dominated by developments related to engine technology, and later to tire advancements. Since both technologies were extremely expensive, only the better supported teams could afford large investments.
During the 1960s, race car aerodynamics evolved as an important and relatively inexpensive technology that could place the smaller and less well-funded teams in the winner’s circle. As time progressed, race-car aerodynamics became more refined, and today all race cars are tested in expensive wind tunnels as part of a continuous development process.
In spite of the huge progress made by the aerospace industry, the effect of aerodynamics on vehicle performance still seems to be the least understood of the aforementioned technologies. Therefore, after a brief review of the subject of aerodynamics and current vehicles in the first chapter, I explain the elementary aspects of air flow over race cars, so that the reader can later correlate between a race car shape and the corresponding aerodynamic effects influencing vehicle performance. I dedicate an entire chapter to vehicle dynamics and performance to clearly explain the tremendous increases in cornering speeds due to aerodynamic down-force, and to clarify the misconception that aerodynamics is important only for drag reduction.
This book is intended to appeal to a wide range of enthusiasts, from racing fans who want to know why certain devices appear on their favorite team car, to well established designers who will appreciate the overall view of this text and the supporting data. The technical information is sufficiently descriptive for the nontechnical reader, but also includes a wide enough data-base which may be useful, even to professionals, when rapid preliminary information is sought.
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