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November 2023 Sponsor Spotlight

CMR has had a mixed history with aerodynamics. We first started designing wing packages for the car when we switched to EV back in 2014, but we never competed with a package until 2019, because until that point, we didn’t have the computational resources to run CFD’s, and even at that time, the team only dreamt of using a wind tunnel. Fast forward to today, and our team is designing our most complex aero package yet, and that’s only possible thanks to Ford, who allowed us to bring our 23e racecar to their Drivability Test Facility and use their wind tunnel.

Last month, the team strapped in 23e, and drove it down to Michigan to use the Ford Drivability Test Facility, marking the first CMR Wind Tunnel test. This was an incredible opportunity for our aero team, because the Ford wind tunnel was equipped with dozens of sensors, including force sensors that were accurate enough to detect the force of a single quarter being placed on the turn table. And because the tunnel had a turn table in it, the team was able to test the aero performance during simulated cornering, at different slip angles.

Once the team got to the tunnel, it was nonstop until midnight. The team was briefed on how the tunnel operated, and then it was nonstop testing till midnight. The team ran over 3 dozen tests, getting invaluable data about everything from the effectiveness of our DRS, to how pitch-sensitive our wings were. Our Aero R&D team was able to test prototype whiskers, and our side aero lead Ravi Patel was able to collect useful data about the airflow coming off the front wing, and between the wheels, validating some of the design choices for this year’s package. He describes the experience at Ford as “Truly a once in a lifetime experience. Working with a few of the aerodynamic engineers at Ford, getting their advice on how to improve our testing, and learning from their industry experience was incredible!”

The whole team mirrored a similar sentiment, agreeing that by far the most helpful part of the experience was working with the Ford team themselves. Our aero captain Jason Xuze Shao described the experience as extremely informative, and one of the only places where talking about boundary condition theory felt like a light conversation. Having access to bounce ideas off of Ford’s aerodynamicists, help with rapid prototyping to test gurney flaps and wing adjustments, and insight from the tunnel technician allowed the team to learn more about the practical side of aerodynamics than any experience prior. And in the end, the team was able to take the data from this test, and validate several design changes to the 24e aero package, as well as validate their simulation setup for this year!

This was a massive opportunity for our team, and was a fantastic experience. Our team is very thankful for the support that Ford has given us this year, and we look forward to growing this partnership and working closely together in the future.



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