McLaren shows what is al­ready pos­si­ble

The Witness - Wheels - - FUTURE TECH -

MCLAREN says MP4-X con­cept race cars show the fu­ture of F1 rac­ing, be­cause ev­ery­thing in this con­cept race car is avail­able.

With recharg­ing of bat­ter­ies for elec­tric mo­tors to hap­pen through in­duc­tive cou­pling in the track means that the en­tire pow­er­train was rethought. This, in turn, meant that the chas­sis was com­pletely rethought as well.

“With a new ap­proach to the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine you could rad­i­cally re­dis­tribute the chas­sis lay­out at the rear of the car, with dif­fer­ent ar­eas that could be ex­ploited aero­dy­nam­i­cally,” says An­thony Law, sys­tems en­gi­neer, McLaren Ap­plied Tech­nolo­gies.

The struc­ture of the car isn’t just elec­tri­fied to store en­ergy, it’s also re­silient and nearly un­break­able. If two cars made of a ma­te­rial that ab­sorbs im­pacts and then re­turns to its orig­i­nal shape col­lide … well, they would hit, crum­ple, and then re-form to their orig­i­nal shape.

The car can also change its shape to aid aero­dy­nam­ics on the fly. The sur­faces of the MP4-X’s body­work can be elec­tri­fied to cause a change in shape when cer­tain aero­dy­namic loads or con­di­tions would im­prove per­for­mance. When the cur­rent is cut off, the ma­te­ri­als re­turn to their orig­i­nal shape.

The air around the car can also be plas­mafied. Elec­trodes in the sur­face of the car’s wings elec­tron­i­cally con­trol the McLaren MPX-4’s aero­dy­nam­ics, di­alling in down­force for cor­ner­ing and out­ward for straights. With pow­er­ful elec­tri­cal charg­ing dur­ing the turns, th­ese same elec­trodes would turn air into plasma around those aero wings, re­mov­ing drag.

“It’s banned in the cur­rent F1 regs, but it’s great for achiev­ing high top speeds, par­tic­u­larly at cir­cuits like Monza, where you want to shed all the down­force along the straights and then turn it back on again for the cor­ners,” says Ge­off McGrath, chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer, McLaren Ap­plied Tech­nolo­gies.

Fi­nally, the bread and but­ter of rac­ing — ad­ver­tise­ments. Spon­sor­ships could be tuned to bet­ter ap­peal to race go­ers and fans. Con­ven­tional stick­ers will be re­placed by dig­i­tal bill­board-style ad­ver­tise­ments at key po­si­tions on the car. Th­ese could be lever­aged to re­flect ads that closely match the brows­ing history of a fan’s smart­phone or gad­gets, for ex­am­ple.

One per­son watch­ing on tele­vi­sion might see an ad for break­fast ce­real, while an­other, watch­ing the same car in the same race at the same time, might see an ad for Caribbean va­ca­tions.

We see that not only is the McLaren MPX-4 a beau­ti­fully far out con­cept in terms of ap­pear­ances, but it’s a vi­sion of the tech­nol­ogy with po­ten­tial to drive changes in the sport.

— Giz­mag.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

McLaren showed the fu­ture of F1 rac­ing in the MP4-X, with ad­verts that dis­play dif­fer­ently for each viewer and body pan­els that change shape, among other tricks.

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