Thus an old railway tunnel will become a top secret test track

The premium wind tunnels they were built for research purposes in the 19th century, but it was the arrival of airplanes that created the urgent need to study the effects of moving airflow. In 1903 i Wright brothers they used a rudimentary wind tunnel to develop their revolutionary Flyer, but only several decades later did the automotive industry benefit from this technology. There first car, in fact, they were too slow in order to benefit from the study of air flows and only 1938, the German Wunibald Kamm, was able to demonstrate its advantages on a BMW 328 Comb Coupe creating the first life-size gallery, still in use today. Decades later, as motorsports entered the era of aerodynamic downforce, the importance of wind tunnels became more important, although the speeds involved meant that nearly all of them were built on smaller scales and used with scale models.

Wind tunnels have become vital tools for development both racing and road cars, especially now that theefficiency is even more important in new electric cars. Despite this, the wind tunnels are extremely expensive to build and design; some plants require an outlay of more than 100 thousand euros per day to operate. The best solutions often come from lateral thinking and to obviate the stratospheric costs, theBritish company Totalsim decided to convert a disused 2.57km railway tunnel into a new site to study aerodynamic flows. Naturally, a series of interventions were necessary before being able to hypothesize and plan the work; over the years, in fact, the tunnel has suffered several floods which have compromised the structure. Despite the limited length, the cars can keep one constant speed of 160 km / h for about 40 seconds before starting to slow down.

In traditional wind tunnels the subject remains motionless and it is the air that is pushed on it to calculate its efficiency; the most obvious and naturally cheap alternative is the opposite, that is move the subject within a strictly monitored environment. The tunnel Catesby it is therefore the right place: it is an old railway tunnel (for the more curious here is the link on Google Maps) almost perfectly flat and easily insulated from the presence of external elements that could compromise the tests. To allow the regular conduct of the tests, they will be introduced a series of protective barriers and a new asphalt to ensure a better grip and remove any slopes.

The idea of ​​using an existing tunnel is not new; in United States, Chip Ganassi Racing took over an abandoned one in Pennsylvania in 2003, and it has been used extensively for it ever since development of cars used in motorsport. Despite the architectural conformation, the tunnel does not add any echo to the roar of the engines; in other words, it will be possible for teams to whiz around virtually 24 hours a day without disturbing the public peace. The Catesby tunnel will open to customers from next month and, although Subaru has invested in the project, it is possible that the site is available to anyone willing to pay. On holidays there is the desire to make it open to the public for free, so as to allow even the cyclists to be able to use it. In the future, the British company does not rule out installing side fans, improving the communication department and making it even more avant-garde.


Source: Tom's Hardware by www.tomshw.it.

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