Back in 2009 I started development on an aerodynamic steering concept for vehicles. Where conventional race cars apply downforce to increase the traction limit, this concept plays with the air flow through internal and external channels to generate lateral forces on the car. This increases cornering speeds without dependency on friction to the ground. The reduction in loads on structural elements by replacing the otherwise required downforce allows for lighter components and a lower fuel consumption.
Next, an exterior body was designed around this concept, showing the visual impact of such a technology on the shape of the car itself. Along the way, I’ve had the pleasure of getting feedback & tips from Pininfarina, they have my eternal gratitude. The result? Taste is a personal thing, so judge for yourself!
CFD (computational fluid dynamics) calculations showed lateral forces up to 300N at 270 kph, allowing for significant increases in cornering speeds, stability and safety. Based on these positive results, I teamed up with Voxdale to write and file a patent for this concept. Based on a positive report from the European Patent Office, the patent was granted in 2013.
Some time later, both Ferrari and Toyota referred to our patent in theirs - we were clearly on to something!
To further detail my vision for the car, the idea of using 3D printing for the chassis of the car was added. Looking at tomorrow's possibilities, an extreme design freedom exists towards structural chassis design, allowing for far more complex shapes, in the end reducing the weight of the car. Additionally, local manufacturing reduces the carbon footprint of the concept car. As a small demo, both the car and the chassis were 3D printed.
The concept car got a lot of media attention and got an articles on engineeringnet and other relevant magazines.
We had an investor come by who wanted to turn this concept into a reality. But he went as quickly as he came and the project got halted. Also Ferrari mentioned that they would not continue this track of internal channels, as they take up too much internal space.
Although the project itself is still on hold, it has been the starting point of a fantastic adventure. Back then, I was actually the perfect customer for AirShaper - I had a 3D model and an idea, but not a clue whether it would work or not. Let alone budget for a physical prototype and wind tunnel test. So I went on to work in an aerodynamics agency, performing both physical & virtual wind tunnel tests for others. After doing so for 6 years, I founded AirShaper - the passion & adventure are alive and kicking! And now we’re an enthusiast team, helping kids & adults (isn’t that the same?) with dreams like my own.