McLaren Elva Aerodynamic simulation & analysis

McLaren Elva Aerodynamic simulation & analysis

Since McLaren Automotive Ltd revealed the Elva, I have been impressed by its design. Instead of a traditional windshield, the Elva uses AAMS (active air management system), located in the nose of the car, which creates a region of calm air for the passengers.

I decided to test its performance by creating a CAD model and carrying out a CFD simulation on SimScale. In addition, I tested the Elva with a windshield instead of the AAMS to see how different the Elva is to a regular convertible (at 100km/h).

My simulation validates 3 points:

1. The AAMS manages to create a region of very slow air, and thus has the same effect as a windshield.

2. Compared to a windshield, the AAMS increases drag and downforce. Drag increases as the airflow gets more disturbed, but the increase in downforce remains interesting.

3. I discovered that convertibles suffer from a very slight cabin depression that depends on the speed of the car. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs as a result of the high speed air passing over the body of the car. Thank you to Jamie Fox for clarifying this point.

This study has been especially interesting as the Elva is a new take on open-top cars. The remaining point that I would like to investigate is the increase in downforce for the Elva with the AAMS.

Further gallery:

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