Eye of the Tiger

The Clemson University Formula SAE racing team wanted its Tiger 18 car to accelerate faster, respond to inputs quicker, and corner at higher speeds. In order to fine tune the car and optimize its performance, the team wanted to validate the aerodynamic package and measure the real world performance of the new diffuser. In addition, the team was looking for opportunities to reduce the suspension’s unsprung weight.

Micro-Measurement strain gages were attached to all suspension links in Tiger 17, last year’s car, using a Wheatstone bridge configuration to measure load with maximum accuracy. The tests enabled the team to determine how much it could reduce link sizes without compromising structural integrity. A whopping 1.7 pounds came off the unsprung weight of the car. This represented an 8.5% total weight reduction off the entire suspension and steering assembly for Tiger 18.

In addition, strain gages were attached to Tiger 18 car’s push- and pullrods to measure aerodynamic loads. Calculating the difference between vertical loads with and without the diffuser provides data on how much downforce is felt at each corner of the car. The tests validated the expected real-world performance of the diffuser, and provided a better understanding of the center of pressure and the distribution of the downforce. This valuable information enables tuning the suspension rates for optimal performance with the aero package.

The team improved their results from 84th place overall in 2015, to 51st place in 2016. Improvements are already planned for 2017.


Click here to read the full Case Study: Validating Aerodynamic Downforce and Reducing Suspension Unsprung Weight 

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product: 062UT

product: Installation Kit GAK-2-200


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Darryl Peterson

Technical Sales Manager