Does Aerodynamics Matter in a Kart?

has anyone here tested straight away peak gps speed or lap times or otherwise for improved aerodynamics (or very effective duck down and tuck) and seen any improvement?

thinking mostly in shifter karts given higher speeds but faster tag X30 or even Ka100 I think on some of the bigger 700 foot type straightaway tracks could show some impact?

I can say when the wind is blowing strong as a headwind down the straight at our local track in Sonoma I can see a 1-2mph difference vs no wind with peak mph of ~72mph but i’m not consistent enough yet to know what that means on lap times

just looking at all the latest bodywork setups coming out, between OTK and others and clearly they’re focused on aero, and then I remember an article on Tkart saying radiators had better aero when stood straight up so the air flowed right through vs stacking up against angled radiator fins, which makes intuitive sense to me just looking at it.

just curious if everyone thinks all this latest focus on aero is pure marketing hype or any data at all to back it up?

Yes but not a ton. Tucking on long straights does have some effect.

If drafting another kart works, aero is having an effect, one would think.

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I have upgraded areo on mine, didn’t pick up any time, but it looks cool. Overall I was expecting to pick up some time, even a few tenth’s, but nothing.

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It depends, a lot.

The track, class (average lap speed), the aero before and after that’s being compared etc. all play a part on how much influence might have.

There’s not a lot of data that I have seen for sprint. Road racing for sure it’s HUGE.

I tend to get down (butt forward, knees up, torso down) vs lean forward or tuck though.

Thought being that it reduces the surface area and give a more desirable profile vs your head and shoulders pointing forward. No data to support it though.

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interesting. what class are you racing in?

is interesting to me that it matters so much in road racing and is so obvious, but even in sprint racing in bigger power 75+mph shifter karts i haven’t seen any data even showing a tenth. seems weird?

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Here is a good related thread:

There could be something in it, given how manufacturers are pursuing it now. But my experience so far is that it isn’t worth a lot. As noted in the above thread, I tested the M6 and M7 fairings back to back when they came out and the data trace was identical between the two. No difference in speed or RPM at all, on a long straight at New Castle in KA.


thanks. super fascinating. feels like best to spend brain power on other stuff then and just tuck on the straights as best as one can

I would think radiator could play a meaningful role or benefit but doesn’t seem like it

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Lo206 (20 Characters)

I was always wondering about the tuck. The youngsters can tuck to the point their seatback is visible. I would think that defeats the purpose of a tuck as the air is going to move over your head and down your back into an air dam created by the seat. A slight tuck may have a some benefit but who knows for sure?

As a middle aged man wearing a helmet mounted go pro, my tucking is supremely ineffective and somewhat ridiculous looking as each time, the gopro smashes into the faring. At the top end, even of a rental, you can feel the air resistance, so I bet aero could help.

Yes. Aero that’s worth about 2 seconds per lap at ELKT, using endplates added the next week

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James, I agree with the hunker down rather than tuck. Works better for my fat profile. Now a kid on our team tucks so far we’re pretty sure he’s got his head on the bottom of the steering wheel. I lost that kind flexibilty a long time ago, and he’s about 6’ :open_mouth:

It does, you want to have the radiator as low as possible

The horizontal radiator from New Line never seemed to take off though. Not sure why.

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Probably because acceleration is more important in sprint racing than top speed. Aerodynamics offers more benefit to sustained higher velocities that characterize RR.

I have heard this but then there was an article in Tkart I believe where newline mentioned you want the radiator flat to the air so it can flow through smoothly for best aerodynamics because as you angle the radiator the air hits the fins and doesn’t go through the radiator anymore which I read to mean that a radiator flat to the air is like swiss cheese and full of holes but when angled down it becomes more like a wall for air hitting it as the air build up on the front of the radiator in a boundry layer

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That absolutely true, straight through provides the least resistance per amount of cooling. However, my club and I’m sure many others require it to be angled at least 45 degrees:

“RADIATOR: Min. angle of 45 deg. from horizontal.”

It’s completely stupid mechanically and aero-wise, but I assume it’s there for some hypothetical safety reason.

Knowing the radiator is going to be mounted at an angle, I don’t understand why the manufacturers don’t angle the cooling fins? Aside from myself, the radiator is the largest surface not designed to flow air around itself, but rather through it. By having the fins at an angle, you are essentially deflecting a portion of that air flow up it’s face. It is wasted surface area and weight in a vehicle that is supposed to be as minimalistic as possible.

It makes no sense.

I recall someone on here having access to wind tunnel testing equipment. I wonder how difficult it would be to set up an experiment comparing radiator angle with air flow percent through the cooling fins versus thermal efficiency for a given angle. As a secondary measure for effect of wind resistance for the given angle its mounted at.

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Those parts are probably not kart specific. I suspect they are commercially available put together in a way to become a kart radiator. Probably not nearly enough market to tool up for kart specific fins

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