Trans-Am compares aerodynamic performances

America's Trans-Am Series has conducted a wind tunnel programme to help with regulations creating performance parity in 2003 between the production-shaped Chevrolet, Ford and Jaguar racecars. Three 2003 teams supplied cars for the tests at the Driveability Test Facility in Allen Park, MI, which were devised and overseen by Kevin Bayless, an independent aerodynamicist consultant and former Trans-Am technical director

Trans-Am compares aerodynamic performances

The participating teams were Derhaag Racing of Chaska, MN (Chevrolet Corvette), ACS Express Racing of Huntington Beach, CA (Ford Mustang) and Rocketsports Racing of Lancing, MI (Jaguar XKR).

"Our job is to provide the competitors with a safe racing environment and to create parity among the marques," said Rocketsports owner Paul Gentilozzi, who acquired the promotional rights to the Trans-Am last year from Panoz/Sanchez Group. "Wind tunnel testing is expensive, but it was imperative to achieve a competitive balance between the brands."

Technical director David King added: "We needed to evaluate all three marques at the same time and under the same atmospheric conditions and temperatures, to ensure that the data obtained could be equitably compared. We scanned the frontal areas and that data will become part of the formula used to determine the drag and lift coefficients. Other test objectives included minimizing the impact to competitors and bodywork suppliers by limiting the scope of potential changes to existing bodywork tooling.

"We also want to maintain the maximum styling cues between the Trans-Am bodywork and the production car counterpart by eliminating aero devices such as hood [bonnet] louvres and winglets. Lastly, we're looking to standardize as many vehicle dimensions as possible to ease the technical inspection procedures."

The Trans-Am Series season will start during the Grand Prix of St Petersburg weekend on February 21-23.

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