1987-01-20

Aerodynamic Properties of Indy Cars 870726

A. brief survey of vehicle dynamics and aerodynamics papers pertinent to open wheeled racing cars is presented. In this work, the aerodynamics of Indy cars have been studied from both a lift and drag point of view. A standardized definition of lifting area for ground effects vehicles and performance observations made through the use of radar and track simulations were used. Values for negative lift magnitude were determined, lifting area was photogrammetrically measured, and a lift coefficient appropriate for Indy cars was developed.
Drag area, also obtained photogrammetrically, and drag coefficients were developed. Mechanical measurements of vehicles and wind tunnel experiments were used to estimate total drag and subsequent values for drag coefficients. These values correspond with energy balance calculations based on available engine power.
A sensitivity study of the performance parameters of Indy cars was performed, with emphasis on enhancing top speed. The disparity of potential improvements possible through various engineering alternatives leads immediately to a design direction for future vehicles.

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