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uploaded 5/6/99

Lola Is Back

Back to Nazareth start Page

Castro-Neves and Casper

The Lola B99 was so impressive at Nazareth that Team Penske bought a chassis sitting unused at Bettenhausen Motorsports. Penske will run two cars, Penske chassis, at Rio for Al Unser Jr. and Tarso Marques. They will "evaluate" the Lola in testing.

Casper Van Der Shoot, Hogan's engineer, is one of the reasons for Hogan Racing's success this year with the Lola B99. His ability to communicate with Helio Castro-Neves and make the car comfortable for him has got to be important.

In October of 1996 I traveled to Europe and visited several damper manufacturers: WP, Bilstein, Ohlins, and Koni. Casper was WP's track engineer in CART for two years, working mainly with Jim Hall's team. WP was underfunded and dropped their CART program. Casper liked what he was doing and moved to the U.S. and Hogan Racing.

Hogan crew practicing pit stops

This photo was taken at 8 am on Saturday morning. The Hogan crew was hard at work practicing pit stops. There weren't many cars out on pit lane yet. Their driver had been P1 in all three practice sessions up to that point. They still had one more practice session and qualifying to go before raceday.

Matt Swan, seen working on the inside front tire, told me, "The pressure is on. It's fun running up front but my stomach feels different."

Lola front wing

This is the Lola front wing shown on the car driven by Michel Jourdain Jr., but not as successfully as the Hogan car.

Lola side pod aero

Some tricky bits in front of the rear tire. You can also see the scoop for the engine inlet. I'd guess the goal here is to minimize the interference of the rear tire flow field on the rear wing and to lower drag. I call these things "kick-ups." I don't know what Lola calls them.

After I took this picture I saw Scott Pruett and his new engineer, John Dick, standing in the next pit box looking over the Lola. "What do you see there," I asked them.

"Those things in front of the rear tires look interesting," Scott said. John nodded.

"And look at the strakes in the inlet," I said. "The Lola has three and the other cars only two. Maybe that's a trend." I laughed. It's fun to watch the detail mods each team generates for their cars. Within days after Nazareth I'll bet there were models running in wind tunnels testing the new stuff people saw there.

Lola underwing inlet

This is a look at the inlet to the underwing on the Jourdain Lola.

Lola inlet strakes

And a better look at the triple strakes. The two inner strakes need a support to prevent vibration and failure. I've been told these strakes do several things to improve underwing performance. They direct air out to the side producing a pressure drop under the car. As air leaks under each strake a vortex forms that propagates downstream under the car creating a seal of sorts to minimize air leaking under the car, further enhancing the pressure drop. Those same vortices add energy (turbulence) to the flow and retard boundary layer formation improving flow at the diffuser. The goal is high-velocity flow under the car lowering pressure and creating downforce with minimum drag.

Look at the Nazareth Aero page for a comparison with the Swift and Reynard strakes. The Penske has a similar arrangement.



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