Race Car and Vehicle Aerodynamics – Idaho Event

Race Car and Vehicle Aerodynamics


The Pacific Northwest – AIAA section is pleased to welcome Thomas Ramsay to Boise State University.

ABSTRACT – In recent years, aerodynamics has seen an increased application to road vehicles, whether automobiles or race cars. For race cars, aerodynamics has led to dramatic increases in performance, where aerodynamics has been seen as an important area to understand and exploit for competitive advantage. For automobiles, aerodynamics has been leveraged to improve fuel economy due to pressure from the government and customers. While it might seem that there is a large amount of cross over between race car and automobile aerodynamics, from a practical point of view – at the vehicle level – there is not. At the conceptual level, the common thread that bonds the two types of road vehicles is the balance of cooling air and total drag. This lecture will weave together race car and automotive aerodynamics, stressing the balances and trade-offs that are made for each type of road vehicle.


Speaker Bio: Mr. Tom Ramsay is currently a Principle Engineer at Honda R&D Americas in the Vehicle Research Division, where he is the Computational Fluid Dynamics Technical Expert and Computational Methods Group Leader. This group conducts computational fluid dynamics (or CFD) for most passenger cars and light trucks developed for the North American market. Before working at Honda R&D, Tom worked at Battelle Memorial Institute in the National Security Division where he did anti-armor research, munitions design and development, and counter-explosive and counter-narcotic research. Tom received a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science in Aeronautical Engineering, both from The Ohio State University in 1989 and 1993, respectively. Tom is active in AIAA, having recently been the Chair of the Columbus Section as well as a member of the Fluid Dynamics Technical Committee and is currently the Membership Officer of the Columbus Section. Tom is also a member of SAE and belongs to the Vehicle Aerodynamics Forum Committee, the Vehicle Configuration Committee, and the Motorsports Engineering Conference Committee. Tom’s professional and vocational interests lie in the areas of aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, physics, and mathematics and include wide ranging topics such as automotive aerodynamics, applied computational geometry, the physics and mathematics of sports, numerical and experimental correlation, and race car aerodynamics, which is a nice fusion of his passion, education, and employment.

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