A group of top aerospace engineering students had the chance this week to act as Formula 1 aerodynamicists for the day as they tested a full-scale Le Mans LMP2 race car at the national wind tunnel in MIRA.
Along with Dr Neil Ashton and Dr Alistair Revell from the School ofMACE and Caterham F1's Senior CFD Aerodynamicist James Crook, they helped to prepare and test a LMP2 car which will race next year at the famous 24hr Le Mans race. The car supplied by University of Manchester alumni and donor, Mike Newton, gave the students a unique chance to get real-life experience at the top level of Motorsport.
Funded by the EPS Deans Award, the students have also been learning to use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) over the summer to understand the flow physics of the car and to optimise it's shape to reduce drag and increase it's performance.
With plenty of experimental data from the test, the students with the help of PhD student Maciek Konopa will conduct further CFD studies to validate their findings against the experimental data, to better understand the theoretical mathematics and physics behind CFD and automotive design.
Mike Newton: "This was the first review in the wind tunnel of the initial test parts for the LMP214 bodywork. Although we were still running the original rear wing mount, and experimenting with front wheel opening positions, we were able to collect some encouraging and useful data, in particular to allow the students to be able to correlate their theoretical work to date with live data. We are delighted to be working with Manchester University MACE ( School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering ) www.mace.manchester.ac.uk both in terms of advancing the design, and also providing the students with real life scenarios"