Posted by Frank Murch | Jul 18, 2013 5:44:00 AM
What can Vinyl Wraps on Race Cars teach us all?
Vinyl Wraps for pickups and for top of the line race cars? Race cars are really test beds for technology. From the race track ideas are tested, concepts are developed and in a few years many of these are found on the higher end production cars.
Race Cars depend on a slick surface. The first race cars were stripped down cars. They were lightened. The engines were worked for powder and that was about it. As races where won and lost, the speeds increased and wind resistance became more important. Smooth, sculpted surfaces became the norm. Today all race cars start with a shape to minimize wind resistance.
Paint has one surface smoothness. Painting a car results in a uniform surface roughness everywhere. In painting race cars, a smooth surface finish is best. It allows the air to slip over the car with a minimum of disruption.
Air flow disruption is a problem. It slows the air down. Rough air creates resistance and is generally not desired. The smoothest shape and the smoothest surface has been the goal for race cars and wind tunnel studies sense the 1970s.
Managing Air Flow is generally done with shapes. An inlet is shaped to gather and take in air. These are found for the engine intake, and also around the brakes (to cool them) and the wheel wells (to lower pressure).
Quick Change wrap Wrapping race cars is becoming the norm. The advertising is easy to change, so a sponsor for the next race can be added and the sponsor of the last race removed.
The Weight of a wrap A vinyl wrap is much lighter than paint. In a world where carbon fiber, magnesium and endless weight reduction efforts are the norm, this matters
Managing Surface Smoothness When painting a race car, one smoothness is all that is available, but a wrap can use a matte finish or a smooth surface. This allows for the wind turbulence to be mapped out and managed. There are certain small key areas where managing rough air can increase intake volumes or allow an airstream to “flick off” a tail more easily
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