1996-12-01

Measurement of Formula One Car Drag Forces on the Test Track 962517

Coastdown testing is a proven method for determining the drag coefficients for road cars whilst the vehicle is in its normal operating environment. An accurate method of achieving this has been successfully developed at Loughborough University. This paper describes the adaptation and application of these techniques to the special case of a contemporary Formula One racing car. The work was undertaken in conjunction with the Benetton Formula One racing team.
The paper outlines the development and application of a suitable mathematical model for this particular type of vehicle. The model includes the aerodynamic, tyre, drivetrain and the un-driven wheel drags and accounts for the change in aerodynamic drag due to ambient wind and changes in vehicle ride height during the coastdown. The test and analysis methods are described.
The results from a series of coastdown tests conducted at a current Grand Prix circuit are presented and compared to the results from tyre rig and wind tunnel measurements.

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