Lamborghini Gallardo AerodynamicsThe Top Secret 1-Mile Drag Race
Lamborghini's are fast, really fast. There are those who are happy with a base Lamborghini Gallardo. And then there are those who make them even faster. In the highly competitive scene of 1-mile drag racing, an undisclosed customer turned to state-of-the-art technology to gain the edge.
The team had sourced the 3D scanning services of Matrix CAD Design, a USA-based specialist in 3D scanning and custom car body part design. Every bit of it, including the aerodynamic parts like the rear wing, was mapped using high-tech scanners & translated into 3D models. And then they started tuning the car in the digital world, changing for example the angle of attack of the rear wing to influence the aerodynamics.
The reason for this is simple: the base car had been set up to go fast around a twisty track, which meant a lot of grip was required in the corners. To achieve that, the rear wing was set to generate high amounts of downforce (i.e. a high upward angle, called "angle of attack"). But this "high down force" setting also generates drag, reducing the top speed of the car on the straights. So they created a digital "high top speed" variation of the model to see how far they could go in lowering the angle of attack to reduce drag in favour of higher top speed, without compromising safety.
Both models, the "high downforce" and the "high top speed" versions, were analyzed on AirShaper. This revealed the trade-off that was playing: lowering the angle of attack of the wing did reduce drag by 71N, but it also reduced downforce by 130N. So you may increase your top speed, but you're also reducing the downward force that is keeping the car on the ground. And as these cars tend to get airborne at speeds beyond 250 MPH, such insights are quite crucial... It also provided them with other aerodynamic insights, such as the surface pressure (useful to position cooler inlets & outlets), locations where the airflow separates (valuable input to redesign bodywork), and so on, which are vital to understand & optimize other parts of the car for future editions.