Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Engineering (M.S.E.)

Degree Program

School of Engineering

First Advisor

Wael Mokhtar

Second Advisor

Wendy Reffeor

Third Advisor

Mehmet Sozen


Formula 1 racing is one of the most advanced technological sports. The aerodynamic on open wheel race cars is essential for the performance during a race. The front wing on a race car produces about 30 percent of the entire downforce of a race car. Several studies on front wings for open wheel race cars are conducted by various authors. A number of research studies include single element airfoils in ground effect and undisturbed flow. Numerical and experimental studies show that by decreasing the ground clearance, the downforce increases. The most efficient ground clearance is reported to be approximately 10 percent of the chord length. Another effective parameter to increase the downforce is the increase of angle of attack. Both increase of angle of attack and decrease of ground clearance result in an increasing of drag. Experimental studies on race car front wings have been carried out in disturbed flow. As soon as a wing operates in a wake, a significant change on the aerodynamic forces can be found.

This aerodynamic study of race car wings will focus on a wing operating in a wake. The wing model is analyzed prior in freestream and ground effect only. The study in ground effect shows a maximum downforce at a ground clearance of 22 percent of the chord length. The study in a wake consists of different ground clearance levels and different distances between a bluff body and the analyzed wing. At a distance of 10 percent of a car length, both downforce and drag experience a significant decrease compared to undisturbed flow. While moving the wing further downstream, the lift and drag coefficient recover towards the values of a wing operating in ground effect only. The most efficient ground clearance point moves from 22 percent to 25 percent of the chord length at a distance of 30, respectively 50 percent of a car length. The flow structure analysis clearly showed a positive impact of the wing tip vortices coming from the bluff body. All studies are performed using Star CCM+, a commercial CFD code developed by CD Adapco.

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Engineering Commons