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Windshear Raises the Bar for Production Car Aerodynamics

Technical Profile Editorial - Automotive Testing Technology International, March 2013 - New restraint bar shields virtually eliminate restraint interaction on aerodynamic forces On the heels of theintroduction of their ground-breaking Wind Tunnel Wheel Force Transducers (see photo 1), the team at Windshear has once again exceeded customer expectations with the introduction of custom –designed restraint bar shielding for customer wishing to reduce and/or eliminate the aerodynamic impact the restraints.

In wide belt rolling road wind tunnels (also known as single belt rolling roads), the vehicle must be secured in place by an external structure. In scale model facilities this is generally done using an overhead sting system, which can also be used for model motion control. However, in full scale applications this type of arrangement is not normally feasible, as it requires extensive modifications to the test vehicle. At Windshear, the test vehicle is held in place using two or three round bars that extend from mounting towers at the edges of the belt to the vehicle chassis (see photo 2). These restraint bars also translate the longitudinal (drag) forces and lateral (side) forces from the vehicle to load cells mounted to the towers.

For most applications, this scenario is acceptable, as the “undesired” forces on the restraints remain largely constant throughout a test, allowing the aerodynamicist to ignore them during any development testing. An empirical prediction tool is also available, developed using a mathematical regression of cylindrical drag measurements at different heights from the rolling road. Using the empirical tool and the geometric specifics of the particular restraint layout (diameter, length, yaw angle, etc) it is possible to predict (and therefore back out) the effect of the restraints on the drag measurement, yielding a correct drag value that is very close to the absolute drag force.

Not wanting to rely solely on predictive methods, no matter how accurate, Windshear has now developed a system for shielding the restraint bars from the airflow stream (see photo 3), eliminating all undesired drag forces. Furthermore, the relatively compact and streamline system also has little or no interference effect on the flow field of the vehicle being measured 1. Recent customer testing using the shields has delivered outstanding results, especially to the production car industry where absolute drag levels are critical to determining the overall impact on fuel economy due to aerodynamic drag.

Windshear is a 100% commercial single belt rolling road wind tunnel in Concord, NC. The facility, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Haas Automation Inc., specializes in high fidelity full scale aerodynamic test services for the worldwide motorsports and production car industries. Windshear has a top speed of 180 mph and was designed and built by Jacobs Technology, which also provides ongoing operations and maintenance services. For more information, please contact Windshear at (704) 788-WIND (9463) or email at

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Windshear to Run First Wind Tunnel Tests for DeltaWing


•  Wind Tunnel Test Validates DeltaWing Design Parameters

•  Aerodynamic drag reduced to less than half of the current generation IndyCar

Concord, North Carolina,  April 14, 2010 - DeltaWing LLC, of Indianapolis, has announced that the initial test of its first full size model, in the state-of-the-art Windshear wind tunnel on April 6, 2010, was a “huge success”.

“The test was a huge success and confirmed the trends of our advanced computational fluid dynamics modeling,” said Ben Bowlby, Designer and Chief Technology Officer of DeltaWing LLC. “We are very pleased that the results in the wind tunnel support our CFD findings. This is a critical step for the project and allows us to move forward towards a final design with the growing confidence gained from these results. We continue to believe that the car will respond on the race track as our simulations have predicted over the past 16 months. We are more convinced than ever that the DeltaWing concept will meet or exceed the parameters that the IZOD IndyCar Series has established for the 2012 chassis.”

The full size model used Firestone tires that were specifically manufactured for the DeltaWing car and completed the majority of the test at wind and road speeds of 140 mph. “The test could not have gone any better,” said Bowlby. “The Firestone tires were excellent and it is a testament to their advanced design and manufacturing technology that they were able to create these tires in such a compressed time frame. Firestone is a great partner to work with.”

The moving ground plane roadway of the Windshear facility was also put to use in analyzing wet condition spray patterns from the front wheels. The test established that spray off the narrow front wheels is minimal and will not interfere with the driver’s vision in rainy conditions. The design of the body around the wheels dramatically reduces spray, improving visibility and safety in the rain.

“Given the extensive aerodynamic data that we now have about the DeltaWing car, we believe that a 4 cylinder turbocharged engine with approximately 300 – 350 horsepower will meet the performance requirements of the IZOD IndyCar Series for the 2012 chassis, doing so with with only half the fuel consumption of today’s car. This is the engine design and displacement direction that the entire automobile industry is pursuing and we think it makes our car’s performance very relevant to the general public,” said Dan Partel, CEO of DeltaWing LLC.

•  Windshear Incorporated’s 180 mile per hour rolling-road wind tunnel will be utilized for first wind tunnel test

•  Discovery Channel Canada will film test session for hit show Daily Planet

Concord, North Carolina,  April 2, 2010 - DeltaWing LLC, of Indianapolis, which introduced its proposed chassis for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series at the Chicago Auto Show, has announced an important step in the development of its revolutionary car. DeltaWing will test its full size scale model in the state-of-the-art Windshear wind tunnel on April 6, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina. Windshear’s tunnel features a 180 mph rolling road which will allow the DeltaWing technical team to corroborate the computer simulation work they have been conducting over the past year.

“From the beginning of the DeltaWing project, the design of the car has gone through hundreds of iterations,” said Ben Bowlby, Designer and Chief Technology Officer of DeltaWing LLC. “It is now time to put our full size model into the wind tunnel to validate the extensive computer simulation work that we have done. The Windshear facility is one of the best tunnels in the world and we are confident that the data we collect on the performance of the DeltaWing will support our CFD findings.”

“One of our main goals with DeltaWing has been to dramatically reduce the aerodynamic drag versus the current generation car,” said Dan Partel, CEO of DeltaWing LLC. “We have created a design that is about half the drag of the current generation car and that reduction will translate into high performance with far greater efficiency, much tighter racing and over taking on the track. We are very excited to take this next step in our development process as we work towards having our running prototype on the track later this year.”

Opened in 2008, Windshear’s 180-mph rolling-road wind tunnel is the first of its kind in North America, and only the third rolling road wind tunnel of its scale in existence. More importantly, it is the world’s first commercially available, full-scale, rolling-road wind tunnel of its type. The wind tunnel accommodates full-scale vehicles, and provides constant airspeeds up to 180 mph, with temperatures controlled to within 1ºF. The high-tech rolling road is 10.5 feet wide by 29.5 feet long, and able to accelerate from zero to 180 mph in less than one minute. During testing, “through-the-belt” sensors measure the aerodynamic down force under each tire.

“We are extremely pleased to have DeltaWing as a customer,” said Jeffrey Bordner, Windshear Site Manager. “We look forward to helping the DeltaWing team validate their extensive computer modeling in our industry leading wind tunnel.”

Additionally, the Discovery Channel Canada will film the test for a special segment on their show Daily Planet, which will air during Earth Week and focus on how DeltaWing is changing the strategy for motorsports to be more sustainable and relevant with the passenger vehicles that are being developed for the future.

“We are excited about the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at this emerging new technology,” said Shannon Bentley, Producer, Discovery Channel Canada.

For more information:

To learn more about the wind tunnel and testing services, email us at or call the Windshear team at 704-788-9463.

Visit for additional information and to follow progress on the design and development of the concept.

Concord, North Carolina,  February 09, 2009 - As part of its commitment to continuous improvement, Windshear has recently completed two projects to enhance accuracy, repeatability, and throughput, and is near completion on another.

The first of the new enhancements is implementation of a temperature compensation system for down force measurement...


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F1 Testing in Wind Tunnel
Windshear Wind Tunnel - One of a Kind
Windshear Wind Tunnel: One of a KindOpened in September of 2008, Windshear’s 180-mph rolling-road wind tunnel is the first of its kind in North America, and only the third rolling road wind tunnel of its scale in existence. More importantly, it is the world’s first commercially available, full-scale, rolling-road wind tunnel of its type.

Windshear operates the one-of-a-kind facility 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, with a staff of 12. The facility is available for hire to all motor sports teams and auto manufacturers, providing services previously available only to top Formula 1 teams.

The wind tunnel accommodates full-scale vehicles, and provides constant airspeeds up to 180 mph, with...
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