Even a small gap here can result in the splitter losing over 25% of its effectiveness. Before, the splitter was bolted tightly to the bumper and there was a metal strip blocking any airflow, but adding the rubber very positive seal really helped.
The front-most parts were the longest, as these have the potential for the most pressure recovery. This had very little drag penalty. The new splitter was also 3″ wider or 1.5″ wider on each side. This is so the new front under splitter features could get clean airflow.
We were going to add some under car vortex generators to divert more flow outward to the sides of the splitter and add a vertex generating notch to the splitter end plate, but we ran out of time.
These mods to the front aero probably had a light drag penalty, but they were kept conservatively sized to reduce the drag. Since we have the least amount of power in the class, efficiency and keeping the downforce to drag under control is the key here.
Adding the strakes in the front diffuser and directing more of the airflow in front of the tires toward the outside of the front diffuser would have made it more effective with little drag penalty.
The front aero proved to be pretty effective because Dai started to complain about high-speed oversteer instead of understeer as in the previous year! We did not want to add more rear wing, as this would have caused more drag, so we added more front spring and front bar instead.
The changes worked well enough. With old heat cycled tires, Dai was running in the low 1:44 second range around Buttonwillow’s 13CW configuration. This was over 2 seconds off the record holder and winner, James Houghton, and over a second slower than William Au-Yeung.
It was time to get serious. I didn’t think we could get the record back, but it would have been nice to give the car a nice retirement party. We waited for the temperatures to drop. The last session, we installed our Super Soft compound Yokohamas and turned up the boost. I was thinking that we could easily take off another second and maybe even get into the high 42’s.
However, our flying second lap was red flagged by an on-track incident and afterwards, we got stuck in traffic due to a long pit stop to change a turbo oil feed line. The team was unable to better our time. Luck was not on our side, and we were disappointed that we didn’t get to see what the car’s all out potential might have been.
Now, the Spoon Civic has been loaded on a freighter and is on its way back to Japan. There are talks of possibly building another car, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store in the future!