Influence of Aerodynamics on the Fatal Crash in Le Mans 1955
Paper i proceeding, 2009
In the 1955 Le Mans race one of the worst crashes in motor racing history occurred and this accident changed the face of motor racing for decades to come. However, still fifty years after the fatal accident a number of questions remained unsolved. One open issue is the influence of aerodynamics on the scenario, since the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR involved in the crash was equipped with an air-brake.
In a recent work , it was shown that the air-brake in operation generates a significant drag increase, but also under certain conditions a down force on the vehicle. In the current work, CFD is utilized as a tool for the investigation of the aerodynamic aspects of the accident. More advanced parameters like the pitch angles are computed, and a simple model for the flight path is derived. It is found that the pitch angles, which were largely affected by the air brake, had a significant influence on the length of the flight path.