Wirth Research uses motorsport technology for HGV drag reduction

Wirth Research has announced the launch of its all-new motorsport-inspired WR AeroKit for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). 

The WR AeroKit has applied British motorsport technology to deliver HGV drag reduction and lower carbon emissions.

Better-known for its motorsport heritage and recent work with Honda Performance Development (HPD), Wirth began the development of the WR AeroKit for HGVs in 2010.

In line with a long running strategy to use its core motorsport experience and capability to diversify into new sectors (ranging from refrigeration to architecture), the company started detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis to understand the designs and air flow modifications required to reduce the aerodynamic drag of HGVs, and if such modifications were feasible.  The results, it says, were outstanding.

The WR AeroKit is a proprietary set of components from Wirth Research that can be tailored to each type of vehicle, and includes in-house designed roof and chin spoilers, bumper turning vanes and trailer kits.

Test results suggests that fitted to an unkitted truck from new, the Wirth Research WR AeroKit reduces aerodynamic drag by 33% and corresponding CO2 emissions reduction recorded in line with expectations based on the decrease in aerodynamic drag

More than 500,000 miles of real-world intensive physical testing of the WR AeroKit was conducted during the course of 2014. 

Independent and physical testing at both the Motor Industry Reseach Association (MIRA) and Millbrook in Bedfordshire was also carried out, and the results matched, and in some cases exceeded, those generated by CFD testing at Wirth Research HQ in Oxfordshire.

The first adopter of this new technology, with an exclusive strategic partnership, is the UK’s leading multimodal transport and logistics brand, Eddie Stobart Logistics.

Eddie Stobart CEO William Stobart said: “We have pioneered several environmental initiatives in our industry over the years, such as modal shift from road to rail, in biomass renewable energy and now in drag and carbon reduction on the road.

“It really excites me that this is championship-winning motorsport aerodynamic technology applied to the road, and I’m proud that we are the first to use it as we roll out the kits to new trucks coming on to the fleet.”

Nick Wirth, president of Wirth Research, said: “In many ways, enhancing the drag performance of HGVs is the ultimate aerodynamic challenge. 

“The results have been such that we have committed to invest heavily in the research and tooling to develop and bring the WR AeroKit to market, so convinced are we of the technology’s benefits to drag reduction and the lowering of carbon emissions.

“It started as an aerodynamic challenge, and has resulted in an environmentally-conscious technology that helps deliver on the corporate social responsibility commitments of fleet operators.”

Simon Crompton, managing director of Wirth Research, added: “The HGV manufacturers already do a superb job aerodynamically, and the performance improvements delivered by the WR AeroKit are simply an enhancement, through intelligent use of spoilers and vanes, of an existing piece of class-leading design and engineering. 

“And, just to be absolutely sure of ourselves, the results we derive are benchmarked against trucks already fitted with air management kits, as verified by independent testing of the WR AeroKit conducted at MIRA and Millbrook.”

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