McLaren have unveiled a new state-of-the-art wind tunnel at their F1 factory.
McLaren abandoned their old wind tunnel at their Technology Centre in Woking, in 2010 and since rented Toyota’s wind tunnel in Germany but have now refurbished and rennovated their wind tunnel due to ‘the ever-increasing importance of aerodynamics in the current generation of Formula 1 cars.’
This development also marks the latest stage in McLaren’s upgrading of their facilities as Engineering Project Manager, Hannah Allan, explained that the design process commenced alongside the demolition of the old wind tunnel in 2019.
“It was an enormous project and the biggest investment in Racing since the construction of the MTC,” with “sacrifices” and extensive hours put into the “complex project” says Christian Schramm, Director of R&D and Technology.
Allan added that many departments at McLaren had contributed to the new wind tunnel as she said: “We’ve received support from so many areas of the business throughout this project.
“From R&D, Aerodynamics and Software through to Procurement, Finance and the Exec team, it has been a real company-wide effort to deliver this programme.”
The new wind tunnel has replaced the old wind tunnel on the same site which meant that there were “space restrictions” which meant that the new wind tunnel could only be “as high and as wide as it can possibly be,” said Schramm.
Much of the external steelwork structure from the old wind tunnel has been retained alongside the main fan, which is designed to generate airflow as part of a closed loop with the airflow circulated through all four corners of the wind tunnel.
McLaren previously ran a 50% scale model of their F1 car in the wind tunnel but many F1 teams now run 60% models and Senior Manager R&D Facilities, Alan Stovold believes that “this makes a big difference” in test results and reliability.
Stovold added that the rolling road will move the same speed as the airflow inside the tunnel, which will enable them to simulate certain track positions whilst measuring the aerodynamic forces on the car to ensure that no part is too close to the walls to ensure accurate airflow.