Pioneering the application of motorsport technology to HGV drag reduction
Bicester, Oxon, UK, 12 May 2015 – Wirth Research is proud to announce that it has been granted a patent for a key component of its widely acclaimed new WR AeroKit™, the Bumper Turning Vane – part of the complete kit for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs).
Launched last month at Britain’s largest road freight transport event, The Commercial Vehicle Show at Birmingham’s NEC, the WR AeroKit represents the cutting-edge and innovative application of British motorsport technology – delivering remarkable performance and results in terms of HGV drag reduction and lower carbon emissions.
Wirth Research started the development of the WR AeroKit in 2010 in a bid to use its core motorsport experience and capability to enhance the aerodynamics of HGVs. The company started detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis to understand the designs and air flow modifications required to reduce the aerodynamic drag of HGVs, and if such modifications were feasible. The results were outstanding.
The WR AeroKit is a proprietary set of components from Wirth Research that can be tailored to each type of vehicle, and includes in-house designed roof and chin spoilers, Bumper Turning Vanes and trailer kits.
The Bumper Turning Vanes are perhaps the most noticeable crossover of motorsport technology and thinking to the WR AeroKit’s components. The purpose of these vanes is to act in a similar way to components seen on the front end of Formula 1, IndyCar and WEC race-cars. In generating a vortex along the side of the vehicle they narrow the wake envelope of the vehicle – reducing aerodynamic drag. It is this innovation that has enabled Wirth Research to gain patent protection for the Bumper Turning Vanes.
The first adopter of this new technology is the UK’s leading multimodal transport and logistics brand, Eddie Stobart Limited.
Eddie Stobart COO, David Pickering, said: “This is a great example of Eddie Stobart working in partnership with an industry and an endeavour dear to this company’s heart, motorsport. Wirth Research’s prowess in this field is without question, the results on the track speak for themselves. We will be rolling out the WR AeroKit with new trucks coming on to the Eddie Stobart fleet later this year and I look forward to delivering our environmental results on the road.”
Nick Wirth, President of Wirth Research, said: “Having worked in F1 and most other levels of motorsport since the 1980s, I am always looking for the next challenge, and in many ways, enhancing the drag performance of HGVs is the ultimate aerodynamic challenge. The results have been such that we have committed to invest heavily in the research and tooling to develop and bring the WR AeroKit to market, so convinced are we of the technology’s benefits to drag reduction and the lowering of carbon emissions.”
“It started as an aerodynamic challenge, and has resulted in an environmentally-conscious technology that helps deliver on the corporate social responsibility commitments of fleet operators.”
More than 500,000 miles of real-world intensive physical testing of the WR AeroKit was conducted on a trial fleet of Eddie Stobart tractor units and trailers during the course of 2014. Independent and physical testing at both the Motor Industry Reseach Association (MIRA) and Millbrook in Bedfordshire was also carried out, and the results matched, and in some cases exceeded, those gathered by CFD testing at Wirth Research HQ in Oxfordshire.