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TKART magazine Tech Focus | M7 and M8, the innovative front number panels by OTK
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18 September 2020
In 2018 OTK introduced the M7 front number panel on all of the Group’s karts. In 2020, the Italian manufacturer added the M8 model, reserved to the MINI class homologated by CIK-FIA
In recent years, the constant search for maximum performance in karting has led technicians to explore areas of knowledge which were previously given less consideration. One of these is certainly aerodynamics, a topic which opens up a wide range of possibilities to optimize both products and performance. Thus, accessories like the front number panel and the front nose kit, for example, prove to be crucial in the distribution of airflow, penetration and downforce, already at low speeds. In today’s karting, performance is measured by the hundredths of a second and even the slightest improvement can be a determining factor for the final results. Consequently, it is easy to understand why companies like OTK have utilized many resources and the latest technologies to study how to optimize each component. A symbol of this approach is the M7 front number panel, from which the M8 for the MINI classes is derived, two accessories in which experience, technology and innovation have been joined and are worth a thorough analysis.

Drag the cursor to observe the different aerodynamic behavior of the M6 and M7 front panels.
For the design of the M7 front number panel, OTK relied on simulations run on models obtained with 3D modeling and CAD software, subsequently developed with the aid of a Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation software (CFD). The use of aerodynamic simulation software, alongside the experimental study in the wind tunnel has allowed them to achieve extremely accurate and reliable results even before starting the actual design cycle, starting from an already highly performing basic model. On these results, a theoretical model was built and then tested in the wind tunnel, setting up a complete kart equipped with fairings made with the latest rapid prototyping techniques.
The different distribution of pressure measured longitudinally between the previous M6 front number panel and the new M7 model.
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The advantages of the unusual shape of the M7 front number panel proved immediately evident, thanks to the two cusps which allow a better aerodynamic penetration. Additionally, the flow directed to the central channel in the number panel allows the air to be diverted towards the upper part of the driver’s head, involving the arms and shoulders to a minimum. Even the number plate itself has been designed to work in synergy with the front fairing as, with its curved shape, it further helps to direct the airflow and avoid disruptive turbulence. All this work has led to an improvement in aerodynamic efficiency of over 10% compared to the previous model.
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The different pressure distribution acting vertically between the kart equipped with the M6 and the M7.
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