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Potential of Porsche Reference Cars for Aerodynamic Development

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Progress in Vehicle Aerodynamics and Thermal Management (FKFS 2017)

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The new Porsche wind tunnel was built in three years from 2011 and 2014. In the meantime, Porsche decided to build two reference cars, so as to be able to compare the pressure distribution on the vehicle surface, both on the road and in the wind tunnel.

The concept of having a reference car to compare results on the road and in the wind tunnel is not new. In the case of Porsche, the choice of the vehicles was guided by two requirements, i.e. to have a car shape typical of the Porsche family and to produce different blockage effects.

The cars were equipped with the best available instrumentation, which was carefully calibrated in order to insure accuracy and repeatability.

Multiple road tests and measurements in various state of the art wind tunnels, with different moving ground simulation systems and different geometries, were then carried out.

As a result of the post processing of these data, it has been possible to recognize interference effects in the various wind tunnels.

Porsche has then used these vehicles in the calibration phase of the new wind tunnel, so as to reach a flow quality, in terms of time-averaged values, that is as close as possible to conditions experienced on the road.

Furthermore, thanks to the interchangeable moving ground system in the new Porsche wind tunnel, the reference cars were able to show clearly, for the same wind tunnel interferences, the differences in the pressure distribution caused by the two different moving ground systems.

In addition, thanks to the high-quality 5 belt system, it was possible to measure the cD_vent (ventilation drag), necessary to improve the prediction of Fx in coast-down tests. A comparison between wind tunnel and coast-down results was carried out and will be shown.

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Computational fluid dynamics


Wheel rotation unit


Wind tunnel


Aerodynamic wind tunnel


New Porsche wind tunnel




Pressure coefficient

\( {\text{c}}_{\text{p}}^{*} \) :

Pressure coefficient measured from the reference car (it means calculated with pRef instead of p)


Reference pressure on the bonnet of the car


Drag coefficient


Ventilation drag coefficient


Ventilation and rolling resistance on the wheel


Rolling resistance


Ventilation drag


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The preparation of the cars, the measurements in all of the various wind tunnels and the final tuning of the new Porsche wind tunnel was a huge task. The authors wish to acknowledge several colleagues at Porsche, who helped in this challenging and interesting project.

Dr. G. Estrada, before leaving Porsche, started this project and his know-how, as shared through his PhD work, has been an important contribution.

Mr. T. Weiser did a huge work in the Workshop to transform a normal car in a precise “reference car”.

Mr. S. Gehrmann and Mr. M. Frasch for their support with the hardware and software installation. They were always important to solve last-minute problems.

The Expert Group, Dr. T. Wolf, Dr. R. Mueller and Mr. J. Meder for their useful support and contribution in the final adjustment of the new wind tunnel.

The wind tunnel operators and workers for their efforts during the large number of measurements.

Mr. K. Thomann and Mr. H. Denzinger of the Porsche Energy Management Department for their contribution in conducting the coast-down tests.

A special thank you is also addressed to the colleagues of the external wind tunnels, who gave the authors the possibility to measure our reference cars and to have open and constructive discussions.

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Correspondence to Francesca Cogotti .

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Cogotti, F., Pfadenhauer, M., Wiegand, T. (2018). Potential of Porsche Reference Cars for Aerodynamic Development. In: Wiedemann, J. (eds) Progress in Vehicle Aerodynamics and Thermal Management. FKFS 2017. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-67821-4

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