In recent years, the constant search for drag reduction (drag coefficient) has also become increasingly important in karting and KG did not want to refrain from investigating this aspect and taking it into account in the development of its most recent products. With karts, the fairing kit plays a fundamental role in the pursuit of aerodynamic performance: in particular, the frontal and front spoilers are of primary importance in influencing aerodynamic penetration, aerodynamic load and in determining cooling. With the 2022 approval cycle, the opportunity arose to take this research to extremes and to do so, Pierluigi Giacoletto's company sought a change of pace in the design and development phase, relying on BeonD, specialised in consultancy and providing research services for the automotive sector. The Italian company is based in Turin, an area that still in the present day offers, in terms of culture, design and research skills in the automotive sector, world-class values from a reference point of view. Suffice it to say that some Chinese giants launching into the car market certainly manufacture in the East, but for the conception and design of their products they refer to the centre of specialised companies that exists in Turin and its environs. BeonD is among these and stands out, according to Davide Gaggianesi of KG, for being “composed of a group of dynamic engineers led by a very passionate director. The risk, usually, when looking for a partner of this type, is to come across specialised CFD laboratories, which only test what is provided to them at 3D level. And that is all they do. With BeonD it is a little different. They are very proactive: using Pitot tubes to test the simulated work in practice is their idea that derives from their specific experiences in the automotive sector. “I do believe that in karting the use of certain tools and a methodology like the one we have applied is an absolute first".
The entire KG 507 kit and the KG 508 nassau panel were also tested on the track with the aid of Flow-viz (flow-visualization) paint to obtain the greatest amount of experimental data to compare with CFD simulations. The result is a modular kit with two different nassau panels, one of which is more traditional and the other with a particular Venturi duct, whose operation we will explain in detail below.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
KG's research and development work with BeonD lasted over a year and its main objective, among others, was that of minimizing drag. Particularly in the world of karting, where speeds are low, it is very difficult to have a real gain in terms of performance by working on aerodynamics.
Yet, a significant improvement in terms of drag reduction has been recorded, if we compare the previous KG 506 aerodynamic kit with the new KG 507 kit combined with the KG 508 nassau panel, which went from a total drag of 119.57 N to one of 109.56 N, giving an 8% improvement.
At the same time, efforts were made to favour cooling as much as possible. This is somewhat in contrast to the drag reduction. In fact, to perform at its best in terms of heat exchange, a radiator must be exposed to the flow of air. On the other hand, however, the more it is hit by the air, the more the Drag increases. As always, we are faced with the classic situation of the "short blanket effect": when you try to improve one aspect, you make the other worse and vice versa.
In addition to these aspects, we have also tried to increase the vertical load, reducing the "Lift force", the force thanks to which, so to speak, planes are able to fly. In fact, by reducing it the kart is "pressed" more to the ground and the effect has resulted in a practical benefit: "In the tests carried out at the beginning of 2022, explains Gaggianesi, the drivers felt a slightly more 'loaded' front on the fast bends".
However, when you work and carry out research in the aerodynamic field the risk is always that of being guided only by the results of simulations and tests, in order to improve a certain aspect more and more, for example, precisely, the Drag. Gaggianesi has a very clear and defined opinion in relation to this: "I think it is absolutely worth investing as we have done in aerodynamic research, since the benefit has been appreciable in practical terms, but you have to do it with clarity and always taking into consideration the low speeds of karts. We must be aware that in karting what really has an impact on performance is the speed on the bends, which are many and not far apart, as opposed to a racetrack. Consequently, it is always necessary to assess whether further improvements in terms of aerodynamics may not generate disadvantages in terms of weight, an aspect that would penalize speed on the bends. So I think that there must always be a balance between aerodynamic benefits and relative disadvantages in terms of masses, an aspect that directly impacts acceleration. Furthermore, it must be considered that the improvement percentages derived from the simulations certainly reduce considerably in practice in terms of benefits. However, at the same time we cannot say that they do not exist, as we have seen in the development of the KG 507 kit and the KG 508 nassau panel.