For many NASA racers, adding aerodynamic grip is a little like fumbling around in the dark, trying to find a light switch. They hazard a guess, try a few parts, make a leap, and sometimes it works. Other times, they stub their toe.
Two NASA racers with an entrepreneurial spirit have taken a leap of their own — one with the intention of providing curious racers with a flashlight to find their way in the dark. After participating in the NASA Northeast Region of American Iron for years, AJ Hartman and American Iron National Director Al Watson branched out into the world of aerodynamics. With the assistance of JKF Aero providing the CFD, Hartman began his line of canards, wings, and splitters.
Spurred on by his friend’s success, Watson started Race Louvers with the aid of A2’s wind tunnel in Mooresville, N.C. There, he was able to test his own hood vents and louvers and build a reputation as a knowledgeable aero guy in the region. Soon, the two had inboxes full of queries from casual racers looking to improve their cars’ high-speed speed.
“It got to the point where we were getting so many questions from racers, we started to think we could help people. There was so much misleading information circulating — some of it was real hogwash — and we wanted to keep them from wasting time and money,” Hartman said.
The two founded Track Aero Consulting to give the laymen dependable data to help direct development of their cars. With plenty of first-hand experience with a lot of the popular products and various configurations of those products, they’ve been able to help weekend racers avoid the costly trial-and-error process that so many stumble through in pursuit of aerodynamic performance.
“Our mission is to provide everyday production track car enthusiasts with an economical service to optimize their car’s aerodynamics using our extensive CFD, wind tunnel, and track testing knowledge,” is how their company statement goes.
“Figuring this stuff out for yourself costs a lot of time and money. We want them to know exactly how much downforce a particular product will give them — and whether this product will work well with another product,” Watson added.
There are four different services Track Aero Consulting offers the aspirational racer, ranging from a few simple pointers to hands-on wind tunnel testing. Predictably, this means a variety of prices, but also a level of complexity that might surprise some people. “Not everybody needs a four-hour consultation, but we’re happy to offer it if the customer is committed to the cause,” Hartman said.
With something that involved, they’ll supply the client with nearly 70 questions to get an exact profile of the car. With nearly every facet of the car understood, they not only should be able to make the appropriate recommendations to generate healthy downforce and drag numbers, but also a nice aerodynamic balance. “We want the cars to be drivable, too,” Hartman said.
Whether the client needs a push in the right direction or a structured day in the costly wind tunnel, Track Aero Consulting has something to offer at a reasonable price.
To see more, check out their portfolio to see some of their extensive wind tunnel and CFD testing.