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Development of a racing strategy for a solar car

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2006
Ersöz, Ethem
The aerodynamical design of a solar race car is presented together with the racing strategy. Dealing with the design and the racing strategy simultaneously offers the advantage of having improvements on both, using the results of each other. Besides these, as a prerequisite of the design, the decision on number of the wheels is discussed. If the three wheel configuration is selected, the requirements for having the desired performance while eliminating the risk of tipping over are inspected. In the aerodynamics analyses, the software packages Gambit and Fluent are utilized. Using the results of the CFD simulations, aerodynamical shape of the body is analyzed to determine weak points of the design, causing early boundary layer detachment and higher drag. The drag coefficient of the body is also obtained from CFD runs at various speeds. It was determined that the selected NACA profile performs well, under racing speeds but the canopy design is open to improvement. The racing strategy is analyzed using the race track information together with the design of the solar car. A program was created to determine the position, velocity, acceleration and power consumption versus time. Also the lap time and total energy consumption can be obtained and these are vital data while determining their sensitivity to mass or to resistances. By the help of this program, the experience gained by completing laps on the circuit can be partially gained without actual laps.