Now that the first production Honda NSX has been ushered out the door of its specialist factory in Ohio, Honda has detailed some of the work it has put into optimising airflow around its hybrid supercar.
Dubbed the ‘total airflow management’ concept by Honda, the goal for the aerodynamicists and designers working on the NSX was to simultaneously optimise downforce, reduce drag, maximise cooling, and figure out how best to get rid of excess heat.
According to Thomas Ramsay, project leader for aerodynamics and cooling, the preliminary work on the NSX’s airflow made use of computational fluid dynamic simulations.
This was followed up by testing of 40 percent scale models at the company’s wind tunnel in Ohio. Final physical analysis took place at Honda’s moving ground plane wind tunnel in Tochigi, Japan.
After “exhaustive research” Honda calculated that the NSX’s optimal downforce distribution for both daily driving and track work would see it have three times as much downforce at the rear as at the front.
The company is proud that it achieved that goal without using any active spoilers or flaps. Instead, much of the downforce is produced by the integrated rear spoiler and the rear diffuser, with the shape of the tail-lights even playing its part.
Air travelling over the front fenders and out of the bonnet vents are channelled into the prominent side inlets that help to feed the mid-engine V6 engine.
Another important aspect is heat management and, according to Honda, there are seven primary heat sources on the NSX: the 3.5-litre V6, its two turbochargers, the nine-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the three electric motors.
To help all these devices work as efficiently as possible, there are 10 heat exchangers in the new NSX. The ones for the transmission gear cooler, condenser, and electric motors are located up front, while the transmission’s clutch has its heat exchanger fed by air flowing over the roof.
The second-generation NSX will start trickling into showrooms from November 2016. Prices have yet to be announced, but will be at the “very premium end” of the market.