Track Test - Planning and Management

RAETECH is adept at planning and managing all manner of track tests. Test purposes range from system development, i.e. shift cut system, through suspension tuning to aerodynamic studies. On this page we present as an example a straight line aero test planned and managed for a Daytona Prototype manufacturer.

Straight line aero testing is a substitute for, and in many ways superior to, wind tunnel testing. It is immune from scale effects and tunnel variability such as boundary layer control and blockage ratios. Additionally, with the engine running, the radiator generates heat and therefore expands the air running through its duct, the intake draws in air and the exhaust expel hot gas. All these are significant. Testing the real car eliminates the need to make a model.

The car needs to be well instrumented. RAETECH can typically achieve better than 1/2lb vertical force resolution per wheel. When testing a long straight is required.

Straight Line Test

In the case shown here, the test was located on one side of a proving ground oval. To give this some sense of scale, the brow of the hill is about ¾ mile away. The procedure is to run the car up to speed, generally 150mph, and, with electronic beacons, split load data from the suspension into manageable sections for reduction and analysis.

With a combination of knowing what to try and managing the test with discipline to incorporate adequate checks and balances, RAETECH was able to find about 30% more downforce for this chassis manufacturer.

One of the advantages of straight line aero testing is that, because there are no corners, maintaining aero balance is not as critical.  Therefore a larger range of setups can be explored.  When beginning an aero program, we recommend straight line testing because of the large volume of data that can be generated in a day or two.

Aero testing can also be carried out on a racetrack, even during an event. While there is a downside of taking more time to get the answers, the advantage is the influence of aero balance on handling can be evaluated. RAETECH has developed an extensive suite of metrics for attaching numbers to driver sensations and actions so that comprehensive correlations can be made between test results and driver performance.

As an example of the value of these techniques, RAETECH engineers have been able to both find optimum front/rear downforce distribution and backup results with data. The hard numbers we generate greatly aid good decision making by the team's owner, manager and engineers.

The details of this subject goes beyond the volume of a single web page. RAETECH engineers will be pleased to discuss your ideas.