Project Inversion has revealed initial designs of a car set to drive upside down in a tunnel, marking the world’s first physical attempt at a long-standing theoretical possibility.
For those unaware, Project Inversion is the brainchild of YouTube channel Driver61’s Scott Mansell, some generous sponsors and former F1 aerodynamics wizard, Willem Toet, who is heading the aero design for the radical record attempt.Toet has previously employed as the Head of Aerodynamics at Benneton, Ferrari and more recently, the Sauber F1 team.
So far, the project has picked up significant pace, with designs released for the open-air ‘tunnel’ that would be open to the public for the record attempt, and now, design sketches of the car set to tackle the record.
While the areo packages fitted to Formula 1 cars are often cited for their theoretical potential for driving upside down, Mansell and Toet have opted for a car that can create maximum downforce at significantly lower speeds, in the interest of safety.
F1 cars are also prohibitively heavy, which led Mansell and Toet in the direction of a Hill Climb car, known to be some of the lightest open-wheelers on the road with a heap of downforce as standard.It’s likely that Mansell will utilise a Hill Climb car like the Empire Wraith for the attempt, which weighs around 311kg.
This has provided a rock-solid platform for Toet to get cracking on the radical aero package featuring high angles of attack for the multitude of wings, aggressive wheel camber, as well as a ground effect system to help ‘suck’ the bottom of the car to the ground, or in this case- the roof.“We can, relatively easily, create something that despite being a much lighter car has more downforce than a Formula 1 car would have at the same speed,” says Toet.
High downforce at lower relative speeds also means that construction costs for the open-air ‘tunnel’ are much more manageable for the team, which is set to measure around 600m in total, including the on- and off-ramps with a steep gradient.