Automobiles Technology

Civic Type R - Engineer Talk 08

"Every shape was carefully designed to fuse styling with aerodynamic performance"

Aerodynamic Performance Engineer Kentaro Machida

Aerodynamic Performance Engineer
Kentaro Machida

When developing the new Type R, we put effort into actively utilizing styling motifs from early in the design stage to improve aerodynamic performance.

Air flow from the slits in the front bumper are channeled through the inner fender, smoothing air flow immediately in front of the front tires.

By reviewing the wing cross-section for the rear wing, we realized better aerodynamic performance.

We finalized the specifications through tests in the latest moving belt wind tunnel, which allowed us to recreate near-actual conditions, and at the Nurburgring.

By controlling air flow surrounding the car, air resistance can be reduced and fuel economy improved, or conversely, air flow can be actively used to stabilize the car. That is what aerodynamic development is about. Kentaro Machida was involved in developing the new Civic Type R in this field that is becoming more important in automobile development by the day.

“A car’s aerodynamic characteristics are measured in Cd (drag coefficient) and Cl (lift coefficient), determined by the car’s shape. The Civic Type R’s Cl is negative, meaning air flow pushes the car into the ground (downforce). The driver is not aware of these coefficients, but with an improved Cd (smaller air resistance) fuel economy is improved and a higher top speed can be reached, while a better Cl (increased downforce) improves high speed stability. The effects of aerodynamic force are increased at higher speeds, so for a car like the Civic Type R that has to perform well at high speeds, it is vital to improve aerodynamic characteristics.

“When developing the new Type R, we actively utilized to improve aerodynamic characteristics the styling motifs the design team first provided us with, trying to design each component with some functionality.

“For instance, the corners of the front bumper have slits which allow air in. The air goes through the inner fender, and smooths the air flow for the front tire, the front part of which is prone to turbulence, thus contributing to an improved Cd value.

Aerodynamic Devices

Aerodynamic Devices

“We reviewed the manufacturing methods for the new Type R’s rear wing, and opted for a wing shape with better aerodynamic characteristics. To maximize the effect of the rear wing, we redesigned the base model’s rear end of the roof, enabling us to generate enough downforce, while minimizing air resistance. Specifications were fine-tuned in a moving belt wind tunnel, where we could test form to within 1mm, and Cd /Cl to within 1/1000 unit, and finalized after tests at the Nurburgring.

Rear wing of Civic Type R

Rear wing of Civic Type R

Civic Type R - Enginner Talk