BY DIRECTING AIRFLOW BENEATH THE WORKING UNDERFLOOR, AIRSTREAM IS HARNESSED TO GENERATE POWERFUL, STABILISING DOWNFORCE
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The McLaren F1 is the world’s first production car to feature full ground-effect aerodynamics with fan assistance.
By careful management of airflow between the McLaren F1’s underfloor and the moving road surface beneath, powerful aerodynamic forces can be harnessed – as in Formula 1 – for the driver’s benefit.
Management of this airflow regime has come to be known as a ‘ground-effect’ aerodynamic system.
Airflow beneath the car is compressed against the underlying roadway and then released through an expanding-section exit channel at the car’s tail – the curving underfloor surface of which is known as the ‘diffuser’. As airflow velocity has been accelerated through this underfloor ‘venturi’ system, so the pressure within it falls, and this low pressure area may then be harnessed as ‘downforce’ to suck the moving car bodily down against the roadway.
In 1978 Gordon Murray stunned the Formula 1 racing world by creating the Swedish Grand Prix-winning Brabham BT46B ‘Fan Car’ driven by Niki Lauda, which generated massive aerodynamic downforce in part by fan assistance. Formula 1 rules were quickly altered to dismiss such devices!
Now, with the McLaren F1 project governed only by comparatively liberal international road-car regulations, that ‘Fan Car’ theme is to some extent being re-introduced.
A complex three-part rear diffuser beneath the F1’s tail incorporates a central single surface and two reflex shapes each side generate sufficient downforce to overcome the car’s natural aerodynamic lift.
Simultaneously, two powerful electric fans remove boundary layer air from the rolled S-wave of ‘reflex’ diffuser sections, helping to control movement of the Centre of Pressure – the truly significant aerodynamic factor affecting vehicle stability and handling.
In This Article
- 1The original McLaren F1 press release in full - Every detail of the incredible V12 supercar
- 2The McLaren F1
- 4For the driver
- 5History of McLaren
- 6McLaren today
- 7McLaren F1 design concept
- 8McLaren F1 chassis and structure
- 9The chassis
- 10McLaren F1 suspension and steering
- 11McLaren F1 braking systems
- 12McLaren F1 wheels and tyres
- 13McLaren F1 styling
- 14McLaren F1 aerodynamic concept
- 15McLaren F1 ground effect - currently reading
- 16McLaren F1 centre of pressure control
- 17McLaren F1 engine and transmission
- 18McLaren F1 engine
- 19McLaren F1 transmission
- 20McLaren F1 electronics
- 21McLaren F1 ergonomics
- 22McLaren F1 interior
- 23McLaren F1 equipment
- 24McLaren F1 glass
- 25McLaren F1 audio system
- 26McLaren F1 finish
- 27McLaren F1 craftsmanship
- 28McLaren F1 specification
- 29McLaren F1 technical specification