I’m looking at participating in a road race next month with the sprint shifter kart. Drag is obviously the main adversary to speed on long straights, so as an engineer I’ve been thinking about all the ways (that the rules don’t specifically exclude) to reduce aerodynamic drag. The studies several posts here link to are helpful in highlighting the highest points of pressure - the biggest being the driver. Of course they somewhat seem to ignore the opposite low pressure side of the disturbed air behind the driver, which is probably equally if not more important. So what could be done about that I thought. Some ideas so far are:
Add a simple air dam to the bottom of the front bumper to limit the airflow under the kart.
Extend the floor to the rear of the kart to make what air does get under-neigh flow smoothly as possible (and also protect the seat from rubbing).
Attach flaps much like a semi-trailer has behind the seat up to the maximum height allowed. That would help smooth the airflow coming from the driver and reduce drag (and is probably the most likely thing that officials would not allow).
Create a simple soft “teardrop” foam piece to attach to the rear of the neck brace to smooth the flow from the helmet and area above the seat rearward (much like you see on bicycle racing helmets). Hey, it’s added cushioning in case of a crash - so it’s really a safety device!
Add small half-balls to the front of the brake and gas pedals to smooth the airflow around the feet.
Thoughts? Yes - this is the kind of stuff I think about all day and at night - an engineers curse I guess.