Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Feb March 2014 Issue 79 Contents 66
car body shapes
more difficult to manage and the challenge for Nissan
Motorsport aero designer Alex Somerset was sizeable.
Somerset didn’t have much time in which to do his
job and he was also being guided down the path by
V8 Supercars, which vetoed some ideas and allowed
others. Most notably, the end result had a centre-post
rear wing when every other car homologated end-plate
Just why that happened appears to be a source of
some irritation for the Kellys. Look for a new-look
redeveloped rear wing in 2014.
That’s because V8 Supercars offered Nissan the
chance to re-homologate the Altima’s aerodynamics
in the off-season at the same aero tests as the new
Volvo S60 gets its wings and thing sorted out. Nissan
accepted and already started testing its changes, includ-
ing that new rear wing.
Why this all went wrong depends on who you talk
to; Nissan global motorsport boss Darren Cox has
been the most outspoken, pointing his finger squarely
at the testing process and the fact there is no use by
V8 Supercars of a wind tunnel or Computational Fluid
Dynamics (CFD) software to determine parity.
V8 Supercars’ response is that Cox should be looking
a bit closer to home for a solution to the Altima’s
They have also taken some pleasure in Cox being
contradicted by his own aero expert Ben Bowlby, who
has stated that coast-down testing is fine if you don’t
have access to a rolling-road wind tunnel.
There isn’t one of those in Australia and the cost
of shipping three or four cars overseas to test at one
would be prohibitive.
The crew at V8 Supercars is also peeved that much
of the ammunition Cox fired through the press, it is
convinced, came out of a meeting he and other Nissan
executives were invited to with new V8 Supercars
Commission chief Steve Horne at Bathurst.
“We mentioned we were looking into CFD as an
option,” confirms V8 Supercars motorsport general
manager Damien White. “So for anyone to go out and
speak publicly that we should be using CFD? Couldn’t
agree more and it’s something that V8s has been inves-
tigating before any noise was made in the media.”
The Kellys were caught in the middle of all this. A
defective aero package has not helped them in the first
year of their alliance with Nissan and the cost of re-
homologating is one they can ill afford.
Needless to say technical director Todd Kelly is
unenthused by the view in the V8 Supercars industry
that the Nissan Motorsport crew did a great job devel-
oping the Altima’s aero package for the official test,
but didn’t adapt it so well to the real racing world that
includes much higher speeds, rises, falls and corners.
“V8 Supercars at the end of the aero test said all of
the cars are within a couple of kilos of drag and down-
force,” Kelly says. “We have a big issue over 220km/h
with drag and the testing method that was used didn’t
highlight that fact.
“We have learned that again and again this year.
There is not one racetrack we have gone to in 2013
where have not been the slowest four cars through
the speed trap and there is not one racetrack we go to
– apart from Winton – where the straights are 150 to
200km/h. They are all 250, 260, 270km/h and that is
where our parity issue is.”
The 200km/h roll-down test will be used again
for testing the aerodynamic parity of the Volvo and
revised Nissan for 2014. V8 Supercars is convinced it is
the most logical, affordable testing it can do.
In the future the roll-down speed could go higher but
that depends on finding a venue that ticks all the boxes
for cost, condition and availability. Nissan Motorsport
has been testing 270km/h roll-downs at the 4.8km
long Avalon airfield near Melbourne, so maybe that
could be used.
But before too long it seems inevitable V8 Supercars
will entertain the notion of allowing two-door coupes
to enter – the Ford Falcon is on its last legs and the
Mustang will arrive in 2015 to become the Blue Oval’s
But two-door versus four-door V8 Supercars? Isn’t
that just creating even more opportunity for aero
drama? Maybe not, it seems.
“You run them down a runway at 200km/h and see
how slippery they are,” say White.
“I am not too worried,” adds Lacroix. “Two door or
four door it is the length and height of the body that
Let’s hope that is the case. On the bright side,
homologating coupes couldn’t provide any more chal-
lenge than the Altima, it seems.
above: Nissan motorsport,
the only manufacturer
to run a centre-post rear
wing, has reworked its aero
package in time for 2014.
“two-door versus four-door v8
supercars? Isn’t that just creatIng
even more opportunIty for aero drama?
maybe not, It seems.”
V8X79 p64-66 Body Shape Aero.indd 66
10/12/13 5:47:47 PM
Links Archive April May 2014 Issue 80 Navigation Previous Page Next Page