Generating massive amounts of downforce without the added drag that most aerodynamic elements add to a car is the holy grail of designing fast track machines.
One of the more out-there solutions is the addition of a fan that literally sucks air from below the car in order to create an area of low pressure.
The solution has appeared on famous race cars such as the Chaparral 2J Can–Am of 1970 and the Brabham BT46B of 1978. Now British track car specialist Ariel is trialing a similar setup on a concept version of its Atom dubbed the Aero-P.
The concept features two small, lightweight fans that run on battery power located on its underside. The ability to spin up the fans very quickly allows the system to be turned on and off when required, for example when cornering or braking.
The downforce generated, which according to Ariel can be seen pulling the car lower to the ground when at the track, means drag-generating spoilers are no longer required. Without them, Ariel says there is a noticeable improvement in top speed as well as fuel economy.
Ariel is keeping many of the details secret as development is ongoing. The company stresses that the Aero-P is just a technology demonstrator and doesn’t represent the production possibilities of the system, though it says that may change with further testing and development.
“When the system is turned on the car visibly squats on the ground so you can see it working, which is pretty exciting,” Ariel boss Simon Saunders said in a statement. “We’re already making about three times the downforce as aerofoils, but this really is just the first step and a very early stage in what is a large and complex project to bring to a production reality, so we have a lot more work to do.”
Anyone keen to get a closer look will be able to see the Atom Aero-P concept at the Millbrook Proving Ground in the United Kingdom on September 14 and 15.