UGR20 Aerodynamics – Racecar Engineering

Formula Student cars operate in domains of low dynamic pressure whilst competing on circuits with many tight corners and few long straights. Therefore, significant lift (or downforce) generation can be challenging to achieve in racecar terms. The aerodynamics team at UGRacing developed an aerodynamic package to achieve downforce targets whilst simultaneously maintaining efficiency by minimising the drag created by other aerodynamic surfaces. The aero team also collaborate with the powertrain team in performance-critical applications such as the development of air-cooling systems.

Aside from the aerodynamic requirements, the aero team’s goal is to create lightweight and stiff parts that meet regulations and do not compromise the car’s performance, looking at material justification and integrating structural aerodynamic components. As UGR20 was UGRacing’s first attempt to incorporate winged aerodynamic devices, the team set out to gain valuable manufacturing experience working with composite materials and pattern making.

UGR20 adopts a simplistic and conservative design, composed of a front wing, rear wing and undertray. The front wing design produces high downforce with a simple two-element design while providing sufficient airflow to both the underfloor and the two side-mounted radiators. Rear wings on Formula Student cars often carry the highest drag penalty; this is usually attributed to their large size and aggressive multi-element design; the profile drag, and induced drag are more significant. The team chose a conservative two-element design to minimise drag while delivering an excellent aerodynamic pressure balance.

The front and rear wings work together to provide the desired aerodynamic balance. UGR20 positions the centre of pressure slight rearwards of the centre of gravity; this gives the car slightly understeering and predictable handling behaviour, which is preferable for amateur racing drivers.

Figure 1: UGR20 surface pressures and velocity streamlines