"Blue Aero" - Carbon Rear Wing Testing @ Streets of Willow
Summer may have been over before it even began, but with the Dual Element Rear Wing 'Mark I' Prototype complete, a road trip wasn't yet out of the question. Alongside friends and family, we journeyed to "The Fastest Road in the West", Willow Springs International Raceway. There, we would rendezvous with team driver, Julen, who had begun his first session on Streets of Willow, Clockwise Course. With ambient temperature already at 90 degrees Fahrenheit by our arrival, the 8AM session proved to be far more crucial, as Julen set out with the wing and was able to clock a 1:28.777. Just four tenths shy of his personal best. Not bad for a 7-month hiatus.
The first adjustment performed was to swap out the Mk.1 stands for the Mk.2, which increased the wing setback 2.5" from the previous version. Both are machined from billet Aluminum. And while the new setback will affect the amount of downforce produced, it also allows for the engine lid to be opened, without removing the wing. Function following form, back to function. The front end now features a chassis-mounted splitter made from Alumalite, which will help with combat front-end lift for now, as a more permanent design is being thought up.
Some of the other drivers lent their assistance wherever needed. Big thank you!
Julen securing the MK.2 wing stands.
And a comparison to the Mk.1 stands.
Before the next session, wool tufts (yarn) were also added to both the main and drag reduction elements. Why not CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics)? Well, for starters, this is a cheap and effective way to visualize the airflow in real-time. This way, before analyzing any other aspects, we can be certain the wing is receiving clean air relative to the height of the wing assembly and the roof line of the vehicle.
Measuring the angle of attack, 5 degrees is a good starting place to produce as little drag as possible during Julen's sessions, while examining the characteristics of the airflow.
Ready for session two. The chariot awaits.
We watched from the grandstands as our eyes traced the course, following the mirage-like Mica Blue dot in the distance. Eventually, we could see the Novus bumper silhouette, ripping through the chicane, coming downhill and back toward us. The wing, comfortably intact, pitching with each directional change of the car.
And just like that, the Spyder was disappearing back into the heatwave.
It was a proud day to have not seen a carbon airfoil launched, missing bumper, or GoPro as Julen went round. Even managing a few penultimate corner battles against the all-wheel drives.
The car appeared to be in good stride, as Julen commanded all 110 horses into a 3-wheel motion on the final lap of the session.
After a well deserved lunch, we agreed that a few laps without the wing was necessary to provide some sort of baseline. Given the ambient air temps were higher by this time, the goal here was a brief stint of 4-5 laps.
Coming into contact with as little traffic as possible, Julen managed a 1:31.039 without the wing. Taking into account some discrepancies like ambient air temperature, a 2.2 second difference tells us we are headed in the right direction.
Enjoy this no-frills video of the wing airflow visualization and on-track footage comparing lap times, steering input, cornering balance, with and without the wing. We will return to Streets of Willow in Winter with final testing and hopefully a new record PB!