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Thread: New Low-Cost Front Wing/Canard for Ariel Atom

  1. #1
    Kim
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    New Low-Cost Front Wing/Canard for Ariel Atom

    As many of you know, my brother Alan has a race shop - Pathfinder Motorsports LLC - that prepares and restores vintage race cars. He loves my Atom and has designed and built several pretty neat modifications (e.g., rear wing, open stainless steel exhaust, carbon fiber body parts, race-grade dash, front brake ducts), the most recent of which is a relatively inexpensive, but very efficient, front wing/canard.

    Having tracked the Atom at both high-speed tracks like Sebring and low-speed technical tracks like Palm Beach International, it became obvious that some additional downforce would be beneficial for the Atom. We've spent a lot of time tweaking suspension settings and tire pressures, but even on highways the front of the Atom can become 'twitchy' and sensitive to wind, passing vehicles, and an irregular road surface.

    We looked at the Ariel factory front wing option, but at over $2,000 it was just not in my budget. It was also larger than what I wanted, and I asked Alan about building a compromise between a pure wing and small canards, something that would generate 50+ pounds of downforce while also helping to redirect air away from sources of drag. This is what he came up with:





    These are actually canards (also known as dive planes or dive plates since they resemble the winged appendages on submarines), and they help generate downforce in two different ways. First, the canard redirects the oncoming air's momentum upwards, which causes a moderate down force on the canard.



    To enhance the performance of the canard, Alan designed-in a Gurney flap (also called a wickerbill) to the trailing edge. As most of you know, the Gurney flap operates by increasing pressure on the pressure side, decreasing pressure on the suction side, and helping the boundary layer flow stay attached all the way to the trailing edge on the suction side of the airfoil.



    Part of the benefit of this approach is that canards generate strong vortices that travel down the sides of the Atom and act as a barrier. Correctly positioned, these strong vortices act to keep high-pressure air around the car from entering the low-pressure underbody region, thus maintaining more downforce. If air was allowed to enter the underside, the pressure would inevitably rise, reducing downforce. Therefore, these strong vortices act like a virtual curtain or dam, restricting higher-pressure air around the Atom's sides from entering the underbody region. As a result, the low pressure under the Atom is maintained and downforce is maximized.

    Unfortunately, we know that canards can be inefficient, since these strong vortices may create drag. So, as in this case with the Atom, they are more useful for fine-tuning aerodynamic balance which we think we've accomplished with this design. The canards are built for Pathfinder by a NASCAR component builder, using aviation-grade aluminum or carbon fiber, and NASCAR-approved hardware ensuring a robust construction.



    So far I've been delighted with the results, with a noticeable improvement in front grip and a reduction in the tendency of the front wheels to 'hunt' on irregular road surfaces. If any of you may be interested in having Alan build one for your Atom, feel free to give him a call at: (321) 544-2320 or you can email him at: Alan@GT40Racing.com.

    Built out of aluminum, the entire canard package runs $590 plus shipping. If you want carbon fiber it will run about $900.
    Last edited by Kim; November 2, 2011 at 12:26 PM.
    Kim
    2010 Atom 3 #131 - K20R/DBW Stage Two
    "I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather; not screaming and terrified like his passengers."

  2. #2
    Neutron
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    those look great!

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    Positron Gage's Avatar
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    I agree.
    "Opportunities do not come to those who wait; they are captured by those who attack."

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    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    Ooh..palm trees!
    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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    Kim
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMaxAtom View Post
    Ooh..palm trees!
    Sorry Max, they cost extra ...
    Kim
    2010 Atom 3 #131 - K20R/DBW Stage Two
    "I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather; not screaming and terrified like his passengers."

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    Neutrino Norm's Avatar
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    [rant]OK, no more posting of palm trees in winter. Have some semblance of compassion for those of us above 47░ latitude ...[/rant]

    I like them, good job!

  7. #7
    Down Quark
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    Hey guys, I'm Kim's brother Alan and it is true that I make all these mods for him so that I can have seat time in the Ariel.( it's quicker then the 590hp GT40)
    The point of this post is to let you know that this front wing will work on all three of Ariel Atom models.

  8. #8
    Lepton
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    They LOOK great! What are the installation steps?

  9. #9
    Down Quark
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    Frank, to mount these 2 front wings you need to drill 4 holes on each side of the body. The 2 wings comes with all the hardware need.

  10. #10
    Lepton
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    What is the width end plate to end plate?

    Thanks,
    Jason
    2011 Ariel Atom Not Supercharged
    2006 Range Rover Sport Supercharged

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