Your location is set to Dartford
Published: 10:00, 01 May 2014 |
Updated: 10:16, 01 May 2014
What can you do with a flour sieve, long stick, two smoke bombs and powerful generator fan?
Build your own makeshift windtunnel, of course, and that’s just what Ashford-based racing driver Bill Richards has done.
The 64-year-old is a renowned engineer and his latest creation is designed to test the effectiveness of his new rear wing, which he has fitted in a bid to improve the speed of his 1979 Mini Clubman.
Over the quiet winter months with no races to enter, Richards was left pondering how to improve the performance of his bright blue Mini.
And when he thought of fitting an aluminium rear wing to the bootlid, he had no idea how to test it.
That was when the windtunnel brainwave came about and after a quick trip to the local supermarket to buy the cheap parts, his testing system was ready to go.
He uses the stick to hold the sieve, in which sit the smoke bombs, and uses the fan to blow air over the car, watching where the smoke bombs flow over the wing.
“It’s all homemade,” he said. “I read tonnes of stuff and lost myself with some big words.
“But it’s all adjustable and we can move it to see where the air goes.”
The aim of the wing is to reduce drag on the Mini when Richards speeds down long straights in races.
With a spoiler attached, the air vortex flows away from the car and allows it to cut through the air better.
“BMC (the firm who built Minis originally) put out information on the specification of Minis,” he added.
“It said that a Mini van, with the same engine as a normal one, would have 4mph more.
“I tried to think why and it’s about the aerodynamics - the van has a straight back-end which lowers drag, compared to the car.”
With this thinking in mind, Richards has regularly tested his wing at his unit on the Ellingham industrial estate.
“A lot of people think it’s crazy but I’m the only one to have a homemade wind tunnel,” he finished.
Richards will see if all the testing has paid off when he uses his rear wing in anger at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Bill and his team will be offering passenger rides in aid of the RNLI at Lydden Hill’s annual BHP Performance Show on Bank Holiday Monday.
Admission is £15 for adults with under 12s going free.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.