September 17th 2019
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Australia's Supercars Series Details Aero Changes For 2020—Downforce To Be Reduced
Australia's Supercars Series has detailed plans intended to improve its aerodynamic homologation testing process for 2020, where downforce on all cars will be reduced.
Aerodynamics have been a major talking point this season, with in-season changes made to all three models in the search for parity.
Supercars has confirmed that all competing models will be re-tested via an improved process over the upcoming off-season.
Downforce on all cars will be reduced by around 15 percent, in a bid to improve the quality of the racing.
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer says significant resources are being applied to the project, to prevent a repeat of the in-season changes seen in 2019. "We're using the existing tools that the guys have got now, to be able to pull some downforce off of the cars, and redo the aero homologation process,” Seamer confirmed. "There's a strong theory that the reduction of downforce will improve the racing.
"The more that we invest in getting the up-front processes right... we've got to do the hard work now, so that we don't have to go through what we've gone through this year.”
The Supercars Commission, homologation teams and newly introduced Manufacturers’ Council are all having input into the revised process.
Supercars Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess explained that the downforce target for 2020 has been set so as not to require a major overhaul of each vehicle. “We’ll take a small amount of downforce off the cars,” he said. "Long-term, it might be something that we look at more rigorously, and take a larger amount away. But at the moment we're going to do it in such a way where we're not creating teams that go and design new this, and new that, and new this.”
The 2020 homologation test, officially known as VCAT, will include measuring downforce at various ride heights in order to improve accuracy.
An active suspension system has been developed over the last year by Supercars’ technical department in conjunction with technology partner D2H. The system’s active dampers measure downforce and allow ride height changes to be undertaken quickly between runs. It has already undergone multiple tests in Supercars’ own Car of the Future prototype Falcon, which was recently upgraded from FG to FG X specification.
The system will be fitted to each car that attends the VCAT test, which will again take place over multiple days on an airport runway.
“We've been developing an active ride system, so we could put the car in as many different ride height configurations as we want,” said Burgess. "We'll paritize the cars across the full spectrum of ride heights, which is different to how we've done it in the past.
“Using load cells, [the active ride system] can measure the force being generated, and we can change the ride height of the car 1mm in 150 milliseconds. We can change the front or rear ride height, so we'll just measure the cars through a far greater range of ride heights.
“It was something that's been looked at in the past, but it wasn't done to the degree of accuracy or repeatability that you'd need," continued Burgess. “We've been working this year on doing that, and we have run a few times with our own car to make sure we're happy with the process and happy with the accuracy of it.
“We're at that point now to do a full VCAT at the end of the year, using active ride.”