Aerodynamic Design of Ultra-streamlined Land Vehicles

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Aerodynamic considerations are often overlooked when building a first racer, in favour of things that are easier to see and quantify. Teams will often spend much time and money on tyres, bearings and brakes and treat the shape of the bodywork as little more than aesthetics. Spoilers, wings, external cameras, etc, will be added because they "look cool" without any thought to the effect they will have on the cartie's overall drag. But physics says that aerodynamic drag is the most significant factor at speeds over about 20mph.

Solar car and Eco Marathon racers have many of the same issues as gravity racers. They have a limited amount of energy and need to be able to use it as efficiently as possible. Their energy is sunlight, and ours is gravity, but both are finite and fixed, and the team that most efficiently converts that potential energy into kinetic energy will be the winner. And, as detailed in The Leading Edge by solar car designer Tamai Goro, solar racers know a thing or two about aerodynamics.

table of contents His book covers an introduction to the general principles of aerodynamics and fluid mechanics so there is a fair amount of detailed mathematics, but it also goes on to offer practical techniques for reducing drag and also for real world design and test techniques. If you can get past the theoretical discussions, there is a wealth of information in this book that will be of interest to any serious gravity racer.

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