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…

Performance Vauxhall - - CONTENTS -

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.

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