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Thread: Adding Downforce.......

  1. #1
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    Adding Downforce.......

    watching f1, thinking about downforce and how it add's so much stability...

    curious what people have done (in a tasteful manner) to add downforce?

    i have seen some attempts with sheet metal and so forth that makes me cringe... curious if anyone has taken ready made wings and created mounts and such to add actual downforce on the cars.. and the results. (have seen the red frame AA2 rear wing)

    6k seems expensive for the stock wings as ive heard they dont add much aero...

  2. #2
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    The wings are better than nothing.The rear helps the most,from what I have learned on track. The factory units biggest issue is they are mounted in dirty air,and designed more for looks than function.They are not as efficient as they could be. The Atom really was designed with zero consideration to aerodynamics. Other than its pointy nose,the rest of the car is like a cheese grater to the wind. Lots of drag and almost no downforce.The shape of the side rails are more like a boat,and the Atom,with the side panels installed,actually lifts UP at speed. (I have photographic evidence) There is a LOT of room for improvement.The installation of the full windshield helped out substantially on high speed stability. I plan on trying some radical alterations in the coming years,maybe even a drop on body of some design. I have some ideas.. I wish the Atom had 1/4 the aero design of an F1 car. They sure are cool.
    Last edited by MadMaxAtom; October 13, 2012 at 05:38 AM.
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

  3. #3
    Electron
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    A nice way to increase down force with minimum increase in drag is to add Bernoulli vents to the under side of the vehicle. The combination of Bernoulli vents and diffuser would dramatically increase the down force and increase high speed stability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMaxAtom View Post
    The wings are better than nothing.The rear helps the most,from what I have learned on track. The factory units biggest issue is they are mounted in dirty air,and designed more for looks than function.They are not as efficient as they could be. The Atom really was designed with zero consideration to aerodynamics. Other than its pointy nose,the rest of the car is like a cheese grater to the wind. Lots of drag and almost no downforce.The shape of the side rails are more like a boat,and the Atom,with the side panels installed,actually lifts UP at speed. (I have photographic evidence) There is a LOT of room for improvement.The installation of the full windshield helped out substantially on high speed stability. I plan on trying some radical alterations in the coming years,maybe even a drop on body of some design. I have some ideas.. I wish the Atom had 1/4 the aero design of an F1 car. They sure are cool.
    i just dont see how a body would b that difficult to add... i see people with the car cover on the car and it looks insane... if someone could develop a fiberglass body... we could have some sexy aerodynamic cars!

  5. #5
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    "If someone could develop a fiberglass body... we could have some sexy aerodynamic cars!"

    Yep..I agree. I really do like the look of the stock Atom,however..on track,the lack of aero really hurts performance. Plus,a lot of organizations now group all "open wheel" cars in with formula cars,even with the cycle fenders. That means Caterhams,Dwarfs,modifieds,fenderless Hotrods..anything thay does not enclose the tires and protect them from "bumping" is placed in Formula class. The Atom is a capable car,but no match for a well driven Formula car,like a Formula Enterprise,Atlantic,Mazda etc etc. I have been experimenting with some different ideas,and will try some out next year on Max. (which has no wings)
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by atom ant View Post
    A nice way to increase down force with minimum increase in drag is to add Bernoulli vents to the under side of the vehicle. The combination of Bernoulli vents and diffuser would dramatically increase the down force and increase high speed stability.
    I had a thought a while back of adding some airtab vortex generators to the bottom of the car since they were so inexpensive. Might not survive the speed bumps though.
    Aerodynamic Fuel Economy Savers for Road Vehicles

    Thought Im not a physicist and it might cause lift instead

    I added some bumper canards to the front like 4 little winglets eurofighter style
    the high profile toy thrower

  7. #7
    Electron Lane's Avatar
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    I had posted on this subject some time ago on the other forum, here are a few snips from that.

    Wings have a noticeable effect on our car. Whether it is the effect or result that an individual owner desires, or whether a particular owner feels the pros outweigh the cons, or that the benefits are worth the cost.... that's all another matter. I'll speak to what I have (fabricating/mounting non-factory wings, details below), but I have no idea if those with the factory wings will share my results. YMMV.

    Prior to addition of my rear wing, my car was a bit tail-happy for my tastes even after the proper corner-weighing and alignment. I'm not talking about high speeds either as I'd recently been doing autocross and HPDEs on a local road course that's incredibly tight and winding. I've had instances of snap oversteer at relatively low speeds that I'd prefer not to have to work against. I can't help but view any adjustments made to my driving technique to deal with that being similar to a band-aid, treating a symptom rather than providing a cure.

    I can say for a fact that my rear wing significantly improves predictability and control over that end of the car. This is not speculation, it's observed results on my car for the events that I do. Does it make me & the car faster? Probably, but since I'm not a hardcore competitor or need to engage in p*ssing matches, faster lap times is not why I added the wings. Gaining a higher level of confidence in the predictability of the handling of the car was my reason, and for that, the rear wing has been worth every penny.

    On the fabrication -
    In all the photos I've seen with wings, it was easy to see that they have quite a visual impact. They really transform the look of the car. In addition, any improvement to grip would really enhance my enjoyment of the car on the track. I always seem to drive with too much caution and reservation due to how easily my rear end has stepped out. It was time to change that.

    Of the wing options I'd seen offered - the UK aluminum style, Brammo's carbon fiber, and Shinoo's - there was always some aspect of the design that I either didn't like, or that I thought didn't work well with the look of the car. Plus, the CF wings have a price tag on them that's hard to justify. I decided to go my own route.

    Of all the wings that I found online, I saw only one company that published actual downforce and drag numbers - Pro-Werks. They offer front and rear aluminum wings in a variety of sizes and will also make custom sizes for a very reasonable price. Here's what I ended up doing with a local race fab shop while the car was stored over a long cold winter.

    For the front -


    Ordered the front wing from ProWerks and mocked up its position on the car. A bracket was made from 1/4" aluminum to attach to the front end of the car which would be welded into the inner structure of the wing.


    Since the wing arrived with mounts on its bottom which wouldn't be useable in this application, a hole was cut in the bottom skin to expose the inner structure of CNC'd ribs and cross tubes. The bracket was welded together from the top while outside the wing, rotated up into place into the wing from the bottom, and then welded together from the bottom. It was then welded into the inner structure of the wing.


    The end result shown at zero degrees angle.


    For the rear -


    Wing was ordered from ProWerks and attached to a sawhorse to visualize height and position. When I was happy with that, I used masking tape to mock up what the support bracket and angle adjusters would look like.


    Bracket and angle adjusters were done by a local race fab shop from 3/4" chromoly.


    The finished product after powdercoating the bracket.


    For my custom wing sizes, the numbers work out to 109 lbs downforce & 1.2 lbs drag for the front, and 195 lbs downforce & 1.9 lbs drag for the rear. This is at a 12-degree angle, @ 100 mph. Lots of surface area on these (they're not small), but the weight is surprisingly low for how solid and strong they feel. More info on construction and materials used can be found on my site in the front wing and rear wing photo galleries. Lots more photos of the construction process there too.


    Shots of the full car after the addition of the wings and new paint job can be viewed here.

    Because it did require a lot of DIY hands-on time, total cost on this job which included purchase of both wings in a custom size, materials for brackets and new endplates, and shop fab time for the rear bracket & adjusters all came in at about a third of the cost of the current TMI option. Just thought I'd present it here as an option for those who don't mind getting their hands a bit dirty. There's nothing like the feeling of personal satisfaction from doing something yourself, and freeing up a bunch of cash to be squandered on something else.

    I later installed a 3m matte vinyl wrap on the wings and inner wing endplates. Previously, they had remained their natural aluminum color which I thought looked fine as it matched the frame tubes. But the black satin surface the wrap provides looks like a million bucks.




    A full photo gallery of wing fabrication can be found on my site here: front, rear.
    Last edited by Lane; August 4, 2016 at 04:26 PM.
    Ariel Atom 2, Ecotec 300, owner since 2007. Drive, Detail, Improve, Repeat. Visit my website.

  8. #8
    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lane View Post
    Prior to addition of my rear wing, my car was a bit tail-happy for my tastes even after the proper corner-weighing and alignment. I'm not talking about high speeds either as I'd recently been doing autocross and HPDEs on a local road course that's incredibly tight and winding. I've had instances of snap oversteer at relatively low speeds that I'd prefer not to have to work against. I can't help but view any adjustments made to my driving technique to deal with that being similar to a band-aid, treating a symptom rather than providing a cure.
    Since you have a Brammo car, and their alignment spec was rather bizarre with toe out on front and back, are you talking about that as the "proper alignment", or something you developed with toe in on the back?

  9. #9
    Electron Lane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Kennedy View Post
    Since you have a Brammo car, and their alignment spec was rather bizarre with toe out on front and back, are you talking about that as the "proper alignment", or something you developed with toe in on the back?
    I do not know what settings my car came from Brammo with initially, but they did not feel right. The car was downright scary when pushed. Shortly after I received it, I had an off-track excursion that resulted in some damage for which the car went back to Brammo. After that, their subsequent alignment felt much better but I can't tell you what the specs were as it was almost 5 years ago.

    I would consider a little toe in in the rear to be the "proper" alignment for this car. I now have my alignment set similar to all the recommended settings that people have offered both on the other forum and this one which helped tremendously in taming the rear end. The addition of significantly wider rubber in the rear along with the rear wing have now made it close to what I expected it to be when I bought the car - decent balance, greater predictability, and removal of the snap oversteer tendency it exhibited prior. It's unfortunate that it took so long to get it to this point.
    Ariel Atom 2, Ecotec 300, owner since 2007. Drive, Detail, Improve, Repeat. Visit my website.

  10. #10
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    I'm thinking along these lines..

    2012-09-09-985.jpg
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

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