Real-world Testing

Much of the research and ensuing fabrication on this site is to support two days of testing at Watkins Glen International, June 5th and 6th. This is a good venue to test high-speed aero, partly because it’s only 25 miles from my house. David Murry track days have 7 hours of open track, which will allow setup changes and driver swaps without worrying about schedule and run groups. There will be two drivers testing each setup to get subjective feedback and normalize the data.

I’ll also do low-speed track testing at my car club, Pineview Run. The 1.1 mile track is tight and technical, and an ideal venue to test the kinds of speeds people encounter when street driving, or in autocross.

Some of the things I’m interested in testing include:

  • Roofline shape – I like making hard tops, and I want to know how the stock hardtop shape compares to a fastback, shooting brake, chop top, etc. And then there are things you can add to a stock top, like vortex generators and roof spoilers, I feel like the roof is the main knowledge gap in Miata aero, and if I test just that, I’ll have accomplished something.
  • Airdam and splitter – Supermiata-style bodywork is commonplace on dedicated track Miatas, but is it worth it to modify your street car in this manner? And then if you add a splitter, how much does that help? And now do you need a spoiler with a wing to balance the front, and what’s all this worth in terms of lap times?
  • Underbody – Flat bottom, side skirts, and diffuser oh my! What’s the effort, and is it worth it?

At some point I also plan on doing coast-down and yarn tests, but most of the effort so far is going into the two-day test at WGI.