With the Engine Technologies reaching their peak innovation, researchers are looking into other domains of Race Cars and Commercial Cars. This includes the much-followed field of control of air-flow a.k.a. ‘Aerodynamics’!
What does the word ‘aerodynamics’ mean? It basically means the study of the properties of flowing air and the way it interacts with the solid bodies.
The field saw its first potential when it was introduced by the Swiss Engineer, Michael May, on his Porsche Type 550 in 1956, when he introduced an inverted airplane wing to provide more grip. (Yes, there was a time when individuals with great intellect participated in high-level Endurance Racing).
However, as goes with all good things, the field criticized the design for blocking the driver’s view and all of Aero’s research went off into dust.
This downforce saw a comeback in 1963 Le Mans with Chaparral 2E. From then on, so much research has gone into this field that current generation Formula Racing cars are able to generate at least thrice of their weight as their downforce, which theoretically allows them to drive upside down in a tunnel – ‘at optimum speed’.
Keep checking this space for more in-depth knowledge of Aerodynamics!
-Pragya and Rohit