Superlite Aero

Superlite Aero

Presented during the 2016 PRI Show, the Aero is a project from Michigan based manufacturer Superlite Cars. Active in the replica market (through sister company RCR), Superlite has a long competition history, from the manufacturing of parts for Duran’s Racing Ford GT GT2, through the successes of the SL-C kit car at NASA’s SU category (including a National Championship in 2011), the company choose to develop a high-performance yet low cost prototype aimed at NASA’s ST classes, which focus on power-to-weight ratio as a means of balancing the races.

Chassis & Powertrain

Measuring 4,31 meters long, 1,88 meters wide and 1,02 meter high (the same mythical 40 inches as the original Ford GT40), the Aero is a tubeframe single-seater built from TIG welded seamless tubes. At the front, the prototype has an aluminum crash box, also acting as the front wing mount.

The frame has been designed with the help of FEA software, resulting in a weight as low as 816 kg, in a 48/52 front to rear split. Even being a compact car, the Aero features a 25-gallon fuel cell, making it ready also for Endurance Racing.

Brakes are provided by StopTech, with 6-piston calipers at the front and 4-piston calipers at the rear, and the car leaves the factory with 18 inch wheels and semi-slick Hoosiers R7/A7, but full slicks can be fitted if allowed by the rulebook. Suspension has pushrods all-around, with 6061 billet aluminum rockers and Penske adjustable dampers. One curious feature of this set up is that the same elements are used in all four corners, reducing considerably the maintenance costs and spares inventory, essential specially for the smaller operations.

Powertrain wise, the Aero uses a 6.2 liter Chevy LS3 V8 tuned by Katech Performance, similar to what can be found in many Brazilian prototypes, yet limited to only 380 HP (with the engine rated at 490 HP without its limiter), delivered to the rear wheels by a 6-speed H pattern Graziano transaxle, with some customers successfully adopting a conversion kit for sequential shifts.

Aerodynamics

The aero has been fully developed with the help of CFD, aiming for max downforce at the lowest drag, going a long way to reduce frontal area. According to Superlite, the aero can generate nearly 450 kgf of downforce at 200 kph, with a 50/50 split, locating the center of pressure slight ahead of the mass center.

In the front of the car, the splitter (1) employs a Selig 1223 profile adjusted for this application. Over the wheel  arches there are some louvres (2), that help extract some of the pressure built by the wheels’ spinning motion. 

The trailing edge of the front pontoons also have a vertical slot (3), complementing the wheel arch extraction.

Sidepods (4) house the radiators, with a sleek shape similar to a Open Wheeler.

At the rear, the carbon fiber wing (5) also uses a Selig 1223 profile, with a 13 inch cord, while the diffuser is made of aluminum. In the spec version, the rear wing sits right abole the rear deck, connected to it by two deep endplates.

In a more recent Aero version, racing at NASA’s SU class, we can perceive a few modifications, starting with the towing eye (7), relocated to the roof. We can also see some gills (8) added to the sidepods and engine cover to help vent some hot air. From an aero performance point of view, a gurney flap has also been added to the trailing edge of the rear bodywork, and the rear wing seems to be of a different design, and positioned in a rearward related to the bodywork compared to the spec Aero.

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