Most helpful critical review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Solid, but not dazzling...
on June 21, 2000
The author does an excellent job of giving a layman's intro to auto-aerodynamics and the text is quite useful for a fan trying to understand what all those wings, bills and slots are supposed to do on CART, F1, IRL cars. It is clear that the author is very well versed in the subject of aerodynamics. Regrettably, he seems more intrigued by aerodynamics, than automobile aerodynamics and he draws the line of application to autos so shallowly that a serious reader will have to go to other aero-texts to actually apply what is offered here. This does not mean that he doesn't discuss at length, things like wings, slots, boundry-layers and a modest discussion of laminar flow (which is curious, since it is rarely achieved to any large degree -- the chronic automobile problem of turbulance producing bumps, ridges, seams and other protrusions, coupled with awful pressure gradients except perhaps on land speed record cars) and that part of the text is interesting.
There is an ongoing -- and intriguing, but not thorough -- discussion of the exotics of the racing world and he looks at open-wheeled cars quite often, but there a noticeable lack of discussion of open-wheel v. mud-flap bodywork. But the discussion of the challanges of racing at high-speeds in relatively stock-bodied autos is superficial at best. As an example, with all the aero-difficulties that NASCAR stockers have had staying on the ground for the past 15-years, there is limited discussion and the reader is left with one picture of an old Pontiac sedan drafting -- you will have to really read between the lines to figure out what a spoiler does, let alone how this most basic device works. However, if you dig, a reader can extrapolate some useful, but minimal, lift/drag/downforce data from some of the tables in the book...
Unfortunately, the good professor didn't give us the benifit of much of his obvious knowledge -- it seems to be an honest look at the automobile, but through the eyes of a Cessna, Boeing or Lockheed designer. A great book at half the price, but if your interests or racing rules require a relatively stock sedan or sports-car body configuration, there are other books with a more thorough treatment of the subject in this price range.