While doing my research for the weekend article about the legendary Pininfarina, I found this very nice retro photo of the Pininfarina windtunnel with a Lancia Beta Berlina! This windtunnel is still a very important part of today’s aerodynamic alluring designs for which Pininfarina has become so famous. The windtunnel has been an essential element since 1972 in Pininfarina’s research and development about aerodynamics and aeroacoustics.
Today the all new and improved Pininfarina test center is a major leap forward from the one built in 1995, which at the time was the first one that was capable of testing full-scale cars by simulating the aerodynamic effects due to wheel rotation and ground-relative motion. Quite impressive right?
To make it even more impressive, just realize that the Italian design house’s new Ground Effect Simulation System took as long as two year to design! Its cost was an impressive €4 million ($5.1 million), but then you have something that takes ground-effects simulation another step closer to the real world. The new windtunnel offers an excellent simulation of ground effects under the car’s front end, for both passenger cars and racecars, and represents a major improvement compared with the single narrow belt setup of other windtunnels.
In addition this new Pininfarina windtunnel is believed to be the only one that allows to measure and analyze aerodynamic flows of a full-scale car in every situation, like simulating air turbulence originating from the ground and other sources, such as side wind or the breeze produced by the passing of a large truck. The equipment can simulate the conditions of a car driving at speeds as high as 155 mph (250 km/h)!
To get a short impression of the tests that are done by Pininfarina click here!