CAD-Based Optimization of a Race Car Front Wing 2020-01-0624
The aerodynamics of the front wing of modern race cars are critical to the performance of the vehicle. The Formula 1 line up represents the state of the art in this field as there are some very complex aerodynamic designs on display. It is strange, however, that there is no agreement on twist direction for the multiple wing sections of the front wing. This paper addresses this question by posing it as an optimization problem. The geometry of the wings has been simplified so that the twist of the upper sections could be studied in isolation. The whole assembly consisted of only two high lift surfaces. The forward wing remained fixed for the study, and twist of the secondary wing became the primary focus. Its geometry was generated by lofting a set of cross-sections at specified angles to create the surface. The resulting geometry was automatically meshed and then evaluated using CFD. This fully automated process was then used to find an ideal twist distribution of the secondary wing. The results show that a higher angle of attack at the tip of the wing produces superior aerodynamic performance. One of the advantages of this approach is that the final output of the process will be a CAD geometry, as opposed to a modified FEM. It avoids a manual step of putting the results back into CAD before being able to share the optimal geometry with other design teams. By removing a manual step, it makes it possible to integrate this method with other disciplines such as structural analysis and enable MDO.