A Systematic Approach to the Preliminary Aerodynamic Design of Enclosed-Wheel Racecars 2006-01-3662
The flow field over a vehicle and the resulting integral quantities, such as downforce and drag are a direct outcome of the vehicle's shape. During the initial developmental stage, therefore, it would be beneficial to have an inverse capability, dictating vehicle shape, based on a prescribed set of desirable aerodynamic parameters. Although such methods exist for airfoil design, their extension to complex vehicle geometries is far more complicated. Consequently, an alternate approach is experimented with here, whereby a desirable trend in the surface pressure distribution is specified. Using an iterative method, the vehicle shape is modified until the ‘target’ trend in the pressure distribution is met.
In the present study such a systematic approach was proposed and used to develop an enclosed wheel racecar shape. During this process of refining the vehicles geometry, computational fluid dynamic tools were used. The design was later validated with 1/4-scale wind tunnel testing, which verified the expected aerodynamic performance.