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NVision Helps Engineering Services Optimize A New Rear Wing For Ferrari LeMans In Six Weeks

After changes in the GTS rules for the 2003 world famous Le Mans 24 hour race, Veloqx Prodrive Racing were faced with a mandatory reduction in engine power. This rule change, combined with an increase in competition for this year’s race, meant that any possible improvements in the aerodynamic performance of the rear wing, primarily drag reduction, would play a major role in the success of the car.


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Given that the project was outlined in early March and with race day fast approaching, there were very few opportunities remaining for actual testing. In fact there was only sufficient time for one wing design to be tested prior to the pre-qualifying event in May.


To maximize their chances of successfully improving the car’s performance, Prodrive turned to their technical partners Advantage CFD to analyze a series of wing profiles utilizing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques. Unlike traditional testing techniques, CFD allows engineers to evaluate the aerodynamic performance of new designs without requiring the time or cost involved in building prototype or model parts. However to enable various wing profiles to be analyzed the first hurdle to overcome was the lack of CAD data of the Prodrive prepared Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello shell. Due to the performance of the rear wing being severely affected by the presence of the car upstream, an accurate surface form of the entire car, including details such as wing mirrors and door seals was pivotal to the success of the eventual rear wing profile. To generate a model with this level of detail within the required time frame of a week, Prodrive turned to NVision. With the car assembled at Prodrives Banbury headquarters, the bodywork of the car was scanned using NVision scanning system.


Scanning at over 23,000 points per second, the scanning system generated a high-resolution 3D model, which accurately reproduced the shape and size of the car in just 1.5 days. From the resulting point data Nurbs surfaces were rapidly generated within Raindrop Geomagic Studio and supplied to Advantage CFD. Over the following two weeks the CFD model was generated and approximately a dozen different wing modifications were analyzed, with the data of the final design handed to Protoform Patterns who produced the tooling blocks using 5-axis CNC milling machines.


Six weeks after the scanning of the bodywork commenced, the new rear wing assembly was subjected to a series of track tests. The result; a new wing that produced the same downforce and reduced the overall drag by 2.5%.


Buoyed by the success of this project and always keen to enhance their competitive edge, Veloqx Prodrive Racing are now undertaking additional aerodynamic development of the 550 Maranello using CFD. To date, this has produced a huge increase in performance leading to an additional class win at the famous 12Hrs of Sebring.


One of the greatest challenges for Hensley in building replacement parts for a wide range of equipment is the need to build teeth and adaptors that fit perfectly with the installed base of existing equipment. As they introduced a new product line recently, Hensley engineers wanted to verify that it’s mating geometry was the same as that of its previous product line, which has been demonstrated over years to deliver a perfect fit with all the equipment that the company supports. But the earlier product line was designed without the benefit of solid modeling so the company did not have a definitive record of its geometry. The patterns for the molds used to cast the previous product line were made by hand by pattern makers and fine-tuned over the years.









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