Znak Politechniki Warszawskiej

Supercar - a compromise between esthetics and aerodynamics

supercar

The Warsaw University of Technology has its contribution to the building of the first Polish supercar - Arrinera Hussarya. Team under the leadership of Prof. Janusz Piechna (Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering) took part in the aerodynamics tests and has been working on active systems of vehicle damping (Arrinera Automotive S.A. and the Warsaw University of Technology received 2 634 400 zł funding for this purpose from the National Centre for Research and Development).

Polish automotive industry has been waiting for years to produce its own car. Finally there appeared a light at the end of the tunnel – our country might soon possess not only its own home-made vehicle but a supercar Arrinera Hussarya. When participating in aerodynamics tests of the body, did you feel  that you are taking part in historical moments for the native automotive industry Professor?

People who are passionate about issues are usually those who come up with the new ideas for projects. In 1981, I was one of the people who laid the foundations for the Beskid car project – designing its shape and optimizing its body after tests in a wind tunnel of the Institute of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics at WUT. My role was entirely focused on aerodynamics and shaping of this car’s body. Now, years later I can tell that I did contribute to history building. At that time, I was only thinking of doing what I enjoyed and that was car building. This car would come to existence but it would be a different one. Prof. Krzysztof Meisner was the initiator and a strong advocate of this project. At the beginning, when the project was not financed by anyone in particular, it was only an act of passion for cars of the two professors who wanted to do something new.

In case of Arrinera, I followed their previous projects. The company representatives asked me for help with designing of the new vehicle. There was a bit of a problem with money but this project was so interesting. I believe, that we need to support the enthusiasts and so I helped them. What will come  of it? We do not know. The future will show…

 

Cars such as Hussarya move really fast and so the issue of aerodynamics is far more important in case of such car rather than in case of a family estate car. So on what particular characteristics the team had do focus when making the car?

The main problem in case of this type of a car is its natural tendency to aerodynamic levitation which destabilizes the vehicle when it achieves high speed. There are various ways of creating the downforce. You can do it either so it is invisible but not very safe or in a way it will be visible but also safe. That’s when problems with designer of the body might occur. The car is supposed to look good in the first place, its dynamic properties are less important for the creator responsible for its looks.   

What were the improvement works on Hussarya like?

I did basic simulations of streamlining and after that I suggested some alterations. I suggested adding a few elements to the body to improve its aerodynamics properties. The main problem is not the aspect of designing an appropriate model from the aerodynamics perspective but persuading the designer that certain elements are necessary. As a result of that, I could not implement some of my ideas because the decision-makers said these were too innovative and have not been used in other supercars.

Did all your theoretical models behaved as you expected during the tests or did something surprise you Professor?

The project is not finished yet. The geometry of car’s body is still evolving. Now the company is concentrating on building a racing car version of Hussarya. It is a new challenge and more freedom for the designer as the aerodynamics aspects become more important that the esthetics of the car.

What was the contribution of the Warsaw University of Technology to the designing of this supercar?

WUT team had to deal with two aspects of the construction: aerodynamics and endurance of the frame. We were doing streamline tests and suggesting changes in shapes of the body. There were also endurance tests of the superstructure.

We have obtained funding for research on suppression of body motions in the mixed system comprising viscous dampers with electrically controlled viscosity and damping by generation of aerodynamic forces dynamically. The system is being created by two groups  - one from the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering and the other from the Faculty of Automotive and Construction Machinery Engineering in cooperation with Arrinera company. We would like to test the system in extreme conditions created by the supercar. Before that, we are planning tests on smaller vehicle (Honda CRX del Sol) with a similar body shape. We would like the implementation of active vibration dampingwas not only applicable to supercars but could be used to improve safety of other vehicles.

How do you evaluate Arrinera Hussarya not only as a project but also as a car? Will it win hearts of car enthusiasts?

My opinion is distorted by my aerodynamic expert point of view. I believe that after the sharp shaped compared to Lamborghini first version of the design, we now managed to achieve a much softer original shape that fulfills the requirements of the aerodynamics estimated for a supercar. It is all due to a very good cooperation with Mr. Pavlo Burkatskym responsible for car shape who tried to take into account as many suggested changes as possible. Obviously, not all changes were possible to be made but I am very satisfied with our cooperation. From my observations, I can conclude that Arrinera company chooses better material and modern constructions regardless higher costs so therefore, I think the final product will be very exclusive and most car enthusiasts will be dreaming of it.

How could you sum up your activities in this project?

The most important in this whole story is the fact that the most interesting and effective results do not come up in huge organisations but among small groups of enthusiasts.

Beskid was created by a group of about 10 people. The project got ruined by a much bigger group of people. Hussarya is an effect of activity of a small group of car enthusiasts. How many people will try to destroy this project time will show…