Huayra Pronello Ford visits Catesby Tunnel for aerodynamic testing ahead of Goodwood Festival of Speed.

On Tuesday 4th July we had the privilege of welcoming Ricardo Zeziola’s Huayra Pronello Ford to Catesby Tunnel. Originally built in 1969 it was designed by Heriberto Pronello for the official Ford Sports-Prototype team and raced by future F1 driver Carlos Reutemann. It was very competitive in Argentina’s Sports-Prototype series in the late 1960s.

Organised by esteemed engineer Sergio Rinland, The Huayra was shipped from Argentina to Oxford where engineering students from Oxford Brookes University worked tirelessly on the car, fitting it with pressure sensors and various other instrumentation. The aim of the day’s testing was to gain a better understanding of the car’s aerodynamic properties. The Huayra employs ‘ground effect’ aerodynamics, creating a low-pressure zone underneath the car that generates downforce, this design was devised by Pronello himself in 1965. The effects of ride height and adding an extended tail were also tested.

“The smooth surface and consistent environmental conditions have allowed us to collect data with phenomenal repeatability.”

Ex- Ferrari, Honda and BMW Sauber F1 aerodynamicist Willem Toet was also on hand during testing, stating “It is a stunning car! It has a slippery upper shape and a flat floor with a diffuser that gave it quite an edge in its day. It [the diffuser] has an expansion ratio that puts it staggeringly close to the maximum downforce you can get from a diffuser.” Toet went on to say “The car was at the tunnel with pressure tappings added to it, in order to look at the pressure distribution around the car which looks to completely confirm that it works exactly as the designer expected.”

Catesby Tunnel offers the ideal environment for this sort of aerodynamic testing, offering incredibly controlled, yet real-world conditions. Rinland states “Catesby Tunnel really is the perfect facility for this sort of testing. We have a full-scale vehicle on an asphalt road, without the need for struts or supports like in a wind tunnel. The radiators, gearbox, engine etc… are all at proper running temperatures. Also, unlike traditional outdoor testing we can control the variables. The smooth surface and consistent environmental conditions have allowed us to collect data with phenomenal repeatability. This is a great way to confirm or otherwise the aerodynamic characteristics of historic cars in a fun and inexpensive way.”

Following its test day at Catesby the Huayra was taken to the Embassy of Argentina in London to be displayed in the official residence gardens. A Q&A session with Zeziola, Rinland and Pronello (on video link) was also held in front of a captivated audience.

Finally, the Huayra arrived at Goodwood on the 13th July. Despite bad weather bringing a halt to proceedings on the Saturday, the car took on the famous hill climb multiple times on both the Friday and Sunday. It has been a pleasure for us to be involved in what is such a wonderful moment in Argentine motorsport.

Catesby Tunnel open for business with its perfectly smooth tarmac

To find out how you can take advantage of Catesby Tunnel for your latest project get in touch today.

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