Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dallara DW12 Speedway Aero Takes A Nod From Swift Engineering

The Dallara DW12 in Speedway Configuration rear wing side-by-side with the Swift Engineering Concept 66 Mushroom Busting design and the similarities are striking. Image Credit: Various resources combined by Edmund Jenks (2012)  

Dallara DW12 Speedway Aero Takes A Nod From Swift Engineering

The major difference with the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 ... the Greatest Spectacle in Racing ... and virtually all previous editions of the race is the racing platform technology.

Most people who have been following American open wheel racing since the beginning know the trials and tribulations with the separation and unification of the series but few really have a handle on as to why this year will be different than any other year.

The IZOD IndyCar Series has adopted a new chassis that handles the flow of air much differently than chassis of previous years and this change lays mainly in the concept of managing the airflow vortex that is created by the car and what happens to the flow of air after it leaves the back end or rear wing of the open wheel chassis. The car punches a change of the nature of the air ... or hole in the air and this allows a car that is following to pass through the same space more easily, with less drag. Some have come to term this effect as "Tow" but what is really happening is that the new design manages the flow of the air to allow for the vortex "mushroom" to be busted. An aerodynamic design feature first pioneered by Swift Engineering and put into play by some very enterprising aerodynamic engineers at Dallara for the Speedway Configuration of the DW12 chassis.

Bryan Herta Autosport's Alex Tagliani had the following observation as to this "Mushroom Busting" effect upon the trailing car, a car following a lead driver:

“You can really see it. If you make the corners flat (out), and being within three car-lengths, you'll get sucked in,” explains Alex Tagliani, who's understandably bullish about his chances having both a Honda and running with defending champion team Bryan Herta Autosport. “If your car isn't as good, and you're maybe four lengths back, you'll still be able to suck in three, but you'll just getting right on their back.”

This is where the timing element comes into play. “Getting closer, you get more disturbed, and if you lift, you become a sitting duck,” he says. “The timing of the draft is very important, but you also have to stay within the appropriate distance to pick up the tow and get by the guy.”
(quote ht:

The following was first published on 4/16/2010 and updated on 6/10/2010 by Edmund Jenks after a visit and tour of the Swift Engineering creation and production facility located in San Clemente, California:

Swift Engineering's 2012 IZOD IndyCar design concept 66 CAD image with California Speedway background. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

Surprise Swift Tour Yields A Look At "Concept 66" Platform
(originally posted 4/16/10 - 1:28 PM)

If the folks at the IZOD IndyCar Series are thinking with a level head, given what we, at The EDJE, were exposed to at a surprise tour of the Swift Engineering facility in San Clemente, they will soon be singing "We get our kicks settling on Concept 66" as their way of the future of open-wheel racing.

Swift Engineering's 2012 IZOD IndyCar design concept 66 artist rendering. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

We were invited by the Publisher of The Motorsports Report, Dicken Wear, as an impromptu field trip after checking in at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Credentials area to pick up our Photo Vests for this weekends event. What a bonus since the major motorsports events of the day would be background shots taken while the IRL, ALMS, World Cup Challenge, and Firestone IndyPro Series cars practiced so the teams could dial in for the races ahead.

Swift Engineering's 2012 IZOD IndyCar design concept 66 CAD image without background. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

A group of about 20 people (writers, drivers, engineers, and photographers) gathered and were treated to a tour of the facilities at Swift that included a look and demonstration of their on-premises 140 mph wind tunnel, driving simulator, and composite fabrication areas. We were led on the tour by Program Director, Casper Van Der Schoot originally from Holland by way of Hogan Racing.

Casper enlightened the eager crowd with the concept of designing to reduce the effects of the vortex "dirty air" so that the platforms could race nose to tail with greater safety and, of course, greater competitiveness. The design concept of how to do this came in the development of a rear wing and forward rear wheel pod shapes that turn the Concept 66 into a "Mushroom Buster"!

One can not totally eliminate the shroom effect, but by shrinking the width of the shroom plume, and raising the "cap" of the shroom so that it is moved away from the following platform ... the mushroom is effectively busted.

UPDATE: Swift Concept #70 proposal for the next IZOD IndyCar

The IZOD IndyCar ICONIC Committee earlier this week, received a presentation previewing Swift's concept #70. The #70 is the latest evolution open-wheel car concept and incorporates aspects of the six previously launched concepts Swift has designed over the past nine months.

Swift Engineering's Design Concept #70 placed into a Long Beach Grand Prix track background. Image Credit: Swift Engineering via Racer

“Our latest concept evolves elements from our previous concepts and from the direct feedback we have received from the series, teams and fans,” said Casper van der Schoot, Swift's Program Director in an interview published in Racer Magazine. “I would like to thank the fans who have provided great feedback to us through our Facebook page and in particular Erik Berkman and Dave Marek from Honda for sharing with us their data and modeling for their next generation V6 powerplant as well as their chassis styling concept that weighed heavily in our design.”

The main thing that Swift was able to design in and keep in the #70 was a nose-to-tail racing safety and competition design concept known as "The Mushroom Buster" explained in the breakthrough design first introduced with Design Concept #66 above.

"The 70 has increased signage real estate, as demanded by the teams,” said Mark Page, Swift's Chief Scientist to Racer Magazine. “We enlarged the car's bodywork and angled the surfaces so that they present the best view to the fans. We also have a new 'Mushroom Buster; design. This promotes passing by busting the 'mushroom cloud' of dead air behind the racecar. Our number 70 model was run through extensive Computational Fluid Dynamics on our new Cray supercomputers. The Cray has increased our capability 50-fold, and we now know our car will have significantly less drag than the current car.”

“The monocoque is larger than the current spec,” stated Chris Norris, Swift's chief designer in the same Racer interview. “It is designed to accommodate driver size from Danica [Patrick] to Justin [Wilson] with added padding beneath and behind the driver. In addition we have added anti-wheel lock blades dubbed, ‘Satan's teeth' aft of the front wheels, attached to the front of the sidepods. Also an anti-lift approach to the design of the front wings and sidepods will dramatically reduce the likelihood of the car getting airborne.”

The IZOD IndyCar Series is reviewing the Swift and four other manufacturer's value propositions and is expected to make its decision for the next generation IndyCar for 2012 by June 30, 2010.
[Reference Here]

Well, Dallara won the contract and the incorporation of the mushroom busting design in the DW12 is very evident, more so than with a road/street course aerodynamic set up. Maybe as this author had done with the quote used by Alex Tagliani for this article, Dallara should place at the bottom of each rear wing assembly [ht: Swift Engineering] ... do ya' think?

This year, the "tow" will be the story of the 96th INDY500 race and it will be because of moving the dirty air vortex up and away from the track surface - Mushroom Busting - which will allow cars to be more stable and gain an advantage on the track if used properly.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: 2012, 66, 70, Casper Van Der Schoot, Concept 66, Concept 70, Dallara, Design, DW12, IZOD IndyCar Series, Speedway Configuration, Swift Engineering, @TheEDJE

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