TECH: THE ART OF AERODYNAMICS
In the second part of our guide to influencing the airflow in and around your Vauxhall, we take a look at aerodynamics, including the effects of splitters, wings and diffusers…
The design and effectiveness of splitters, wings, spoilers, canards and diffusers.
We’ve all seen race cars and seriously quick road cars decorated with fancy carbon-fibre aerodynamic aids, but far from simply giving the vehicle in question an enhanced appearance, these weird and wonderful add-ons are intended to act as function over form. Their job is to control the direction of air, ensuring it is channelled in such a way that increases the host vehicle’s aerodynamic performance. Get it wrong, however, and all you’ll do is increase your Vauxhall’s drag coefficient, resulting in the car not fulfilling its potential to cover ground quickly.
Vauxhall has a long and fruitful history of raising the bar when it comes to aerodynamics. Arguably the manufacturer’s greatest success in the field was the Calibra. When launched in the summer of 1989, it was the most aerodynamic production car in the world, boasting a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.26. Even the changes in cooling system, floor and wheels required to realise the Calibra Turbo only raised drag coefficient to 0.29! To put that into perspective, the engineers at Ford could only manage to reduce drag down to 0.35 when it came to the design of the Sierra. Pah!
Amazingly, despite the huge investment of money and time manufacturers ploughed into the pursuit of super-low drag, the Calibra remained the planet’s most aerodynamic production car for the next ten years. An amazing achievement, one which goes to show how significant the Calibra is in Vauxhall’s timeline, and how far ahead of the game GM’s European design team were.
In the world of motorsport, improving the design of aerodynamic aids has been a challenge taken on by racing teams for almost as long as cars have been driven in anger. It’s work that’s constantly developing. That said, you don’t need to be Adrian Newey or have a team of engineers at your disposal if you want to influence airflow in such a way that enables your Vauxhall to corner more effectively and travel distances faster than before. In this article, we take a look at the benefits of equipping your Griffin with easily obtainable devices designed to increase aerodynamic performance.