Smoothly does it

The shape of all these cars is incredibly important – they’re designed to move as smoothly as possible through the air. Sticky out bits causes friction and can slow you down.

But if you are too aerodynamic and travelling at very high speeds this can get furry when you talk about handling and control – this lessens.

Adjusting the wings on a Toyota Racing Series car

Adjusting the wings on a Toyota Racing Series car

The Toyota Racing  Series have back wings (and sometimes wings off the nose cone) that can be adjusted. They help with the down force applied to the car. But its a very fine line to get it just right. Wings flat, mean you go very fast on the straights but not good for cornering, wings tilted create the opposite effect.

The aerodynamic control have to be tempered with the mechanical controls as well – steering, shocks amongst a miriad of other things.

I’m finding that its not just about pure mechanics – there’s the chemistry of the fuel mixes, the chemistry behind what some of these cars are partially made of (like carbon fibre).

But physics really sneaks in too. The Toyota Racing Series with their wings create havoc with the fluid air so if you follow too close behind one you loose some of your down force and therefore control. I was told it’s kind of like a plane hitting an airpocket.

Look mum - no wings! Formula Ford on the starter grid

Look mum - no wings! Formula Ford on the starter grid

But in the Formula Fords where the cars have no wings, there is benefit in following close because of slipstreams.

Sneaky science!

3 Responses

  1. Emma @ Te Papa

    ALSO – heard that this 2009 F1 season they’re going to look at changing the rules slightly so drivers will be able to change their nose wings very slightly (I heard 2% but don’t quote me) while they’re driving. At the moment changes to wing tilt is all done at the pit by the crew.
    WHY? possibly to allow for more passing = a better race to watch…

  2. Emma @ Te Papa

    Hey HJ
    you don’t have to agree with me at all 🙂 thats why I like blogs – put up your opinion in the comment box. I’m not an expert and would like more information on here so others can benefit!
    I did get my info from good sources – some of the pit guys from the Toyota Racing Team and a former F1 Ferrari driver whom I had the greatest pleasure on watching the last race (the 54th NZ GP) with.

    PS the template is pretty cool eh – I’ll find out but by the looks of things its a photo close-up of part of our wharenui Te Hono ki Hawaiki, and ‘greenified’

  3. hydraulic jacks

    I must say, that I could not agree with you in 100%, but that’s just my IMHO, which could be very wrong.
    p.s. You have an awesome template . Where have you got it from?


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