When you want to go very fast, you pay very close attention to how the air flows over, under and around a vehicle
By Gary S. Vasilash
The ’22 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing has a 472-hp, 445 lb-ft of torque 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 that propels the car at up to 186 mph.
But the car isn’t about straight-line speed as much as it is about track performance, so the engineering team took the Cadillac Racing Dpi-.R race car as a template, put the CT4-V Blackwing digital model in over 300 computational fluid dynamics simulations and put physical models in a five-belt rolling road wind tunnel at the GM Technical Center (it seems that the five-belt setup allows a more accurate assessment of what goes on beneath the vehicle than wind tunnels without five) and came up with aero packages to help its performance.
As Tony Roma, Cadillac V-Series Blackwing chief engineer, puts it: “With the CT4-V Blackwing, we create net downforce that is incredibly rare in production vehicles. What this means is that the car gets pressed down into the road the faster you go, giving it more grip, greater stability and inspiring the driver to confidently explore its full capabilities. Not only have we produced our most track-capable sub-compact sedan ever, but we continue to work with our racing counterparts to explore the limits of physics to make better cars.”
So there is a front underwing with air strakes to control the airflow (Scott Sier, aerodynamics performance engineer at Cadillac: “Thanks to components like the underwing, we were able to work with design to generate downforce without the use of large wings that didn’t fit with the design.”).
Front dive planes to increase grip for the front tires by pushing the front down (see previous quote).
A rear spoiler with a functional 3-mm Gurney flap for more downforce.
Brake cooling ducts that are not only 3D printed (how techy is that?) but work to keep the rotors cool and direct air around the front control arms.
Front fender vents that exhaust built-up pressure in the wheel wells as well as remove hot air from the engine bay.
A front splitter, rocker moldings and extensions and a rear diffuser, all of which reduce lift and provide high-speed balance.
A flat underbody for airflow management.
Rear control arm covers, which minimize air buildup around the rear wheel wells and the control arms.
But the most remarkable one of all: the mesh on the grille has V-shaped inlets that have two different textures that work to control and direct air.
Sure, the grille makes a huge difference in air flow management, but the textures on each of those little elements?
That is serious aero.