June 8, 2011
Rule makers vs Engineers: Episode 174
The rear wing of the OAK Racing LMP1 Le Mans racer, bizarre, isn't it? Care to venture a guess?
No they are not vortex generators, the answer is both more pedestrian and much more fascinating as part of the never ending battle between those who write the rules and those who get paid to bend them until they are broken.
Find out after the jump.
As Race Car Engineering and Mulsannecorner.com explain, LMP1 regulations mandate a 20mm gurney flap at 90 degrees to a virtual plane connecting the highpoint of the wing to the rear lip. With mandated power reductions in 2011 teams have been striving to reduce drag more than to find more downforce and a tall 90 degree flap is not what you want on the long straights of the Sarthe.
The solution found by OAK Racing engineers, simple if not very esthetically pleasing, turns 90 degrees into 120 and is illustrated in the drawing below.