VIDEO: Aerodynamics Behind the New BMW M8 GTE Revealed
BMW says the test work behind the development of the new M8 GTE is entering a critical phase as the racing car prepares to make its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January.
During the development of the car, which will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC), the designers and engineers are said to have focused heavily on aerodynamics.
The German manufacturer claims the M8 GTE boasts a host of innovative features that will also be incorporated in the development of future production vehicles, particularly the 8 Series Coupé, which was previewed earlier in the year as the Concept 8 Series design study.
In addition to sprint races, the new M8 GTE will primarily be in action in endurance races all over the world. With this in mind, the BMW Motorsport engineers aimed to achieve an aerodynamic solution that offers maximum efficiency and at the same time is as robust as possible. This refers not only to the durability of the components themselves, but also the aerodynamic stability and handling of the race car as a whole.
The development of the various aero elements began at the conception, on which the aerodynamicists are said to have worked closely with their colleagues in the fields of driving dynamics and simulation. In total, BMW claims well over 1,000 CFD calculations were performed for the M8 GTE.
The use of technology such as 3D printing, in cooperation with the BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Centre, also resulted in faster and more efficient development work. Starting with an idea proposed by an aerodynamic specialist, it sometimes took less than 24 hours to manufacture and test a component in the wind tunnel at the BMW Group Aero Lab in Munich.
Following testing in the wind tunnel, the aero components were then tested under real conditions out on the racetrack. Those tests revealed how the aerodynamics influence the temperature of the engine and brakes, what feeling the driver gets during various manoeuvres, and how changing track conditions can affect aerodynamics.
One result of the intensive aero development is the so-called “Swan Neck” rear wing. The engineers say this allows a particularly clean airflow on the critical underside of the rear wing, thereby increasing efficiency. In addition, the sloping roof line adopted from the 8 Series Coupé facilitates the air flow to the rear wing. The wide rear diffuser also contributes to improved aerodynamic efficiency.
And the wing mirrors are another example of the close links between the racing car and the production car, as they hint at the design language of the new M8.
“One of the premises for the development of the BMW M8 GTE is the close relationship between motor racing and production,” says BMW Motorsport boss, Jens Marquardt. “The various departments have also worked hand in hand in the area of aerodynamics. We have benefitted greatly from the intense cooperation with central prototype assembly and the BMW Group’s Aero Lab. During development, this allowed us to work even more efficiently on the aero components, which have been designed specifically for long-distance racing. At the same time, our colleagues in production development have received information that is valuable in the field of high-performance automobiles.”