Rolling Back 40-Years To When Formula 1 Cars Wore Skirts

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Rolling Back 40-Years To When Formula 1 Cars Wore Skirts

Message par jakebarrell le Mar Oct 24, 2017 3:33 pm

One of the biggest technological revolutions that have a significant impact on today’s modern Formula 1 cars can be traced back to roughly 40-years ago when British engineer Colin Chapman, the man behind the brilliance of Lotus, introduced the Formula One community to a concept called ground effects. Now during this time, engineers focused on streamlining their cars and reducing drag as much as possible. This, in turn, created something known as aerodynamic lift (think aeroplanes) that made the cars extremely unstable to drive especially through high-speed turns. What Chapman and his crew of engineers set out to achieve was to create a car that was for all intents and purposes an inverted wing that would keep the car glued to the track instead of creating lift, especially through high-speed corners. Using inverted wing shapes within the sidepods and large side skirts that created a phenomenal amount of downforce. The Lotus 78/79 was the class of the field in the 1978 season (reliability was a major issue in the previous year) winning 8 out of the 16 races, with Chapman continuously evolving the concept through the year. In fact, the car was so good that it led Mario Andretti to comment, “Its like it’s painted on the road.”



The first ever use of ground effect however can be traced back to 1970 where American Jim Hall first used the concept when creating his Chaparral 2J “sucker car” which had two fans powered by a two-stroke engine from a snowmobile at the rear of the car and also featured skirts similar to the Lotus 78 which left a minimal gap to the ground, the car was eventually banned from competitive sport at the end of the year after several rival teams lobbied for its exclusion. In fact, the famous BRABAHM FAN CAR took inspiration from the 2J before it was eventually banned after winning one race.

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jakebarrell

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