Early in 2008, the most advanced wind tunnel of its kind will open its doors for business in the USA. Windshear, will be the world’s first commercially available full-scale, single belt, rolling road wind tunnel in existence.
Located a few kilometres east of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, this groundbreaking new venture is currently under construction and is scheduled to begin accepting customers in March 2008.
According to company officials, Windshear Inc. will operate the one-of-a-kind facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a staff of 25. The facility will be available for hire to all motor sports teams and auto manufacturers, providing services previously available only to top Formula 1 teams.
Although two similar rolling-road facilities exist in Europe, and numerous scale-model tunnels that operate worldwide, what makes this new facility unique is its business model; Windshear is being made available to all F1, Indy, stock car racers and auto manufacturers. Most other facilities found around the world are proprietary operations, owned and operated by manufacturers, or race teams, for their own use.
Windshear was designed to accommodate 100% full-scale vehicles, and provide constant airspeeds up to 180 mph, with temperatures controlled to within plus or minus 0.55 Celsius (1ºF). The high-tech rolling road will be 3.2 meters (10.5 feet) wide by 9 meters (29.5 feet) long, and be able to accelerate from zero to 180 mph (290kmh) in less than one minute. The “road” is actually a continuous stainless steel belt just one millimetre thick, and it is designed to last up to 5000 operational hours. During testing, “through-the-belt” sensors measure the aerodynamic down force under each tire while a sophisticated on-board data acquisition system collects other test-critical data.
Windshear’s state-of-the-art wind tunnel and 180-mile-per-hour rolling road promise to provide a stable, verifiable, and repeatable environment for motor sports testing – in a highly secure and private working environment.
Windshear is being built by Haas Automation, America’s largest machine tool builder, one of the top-3 builders in the world. Haas CNC milling machines and turning centres are used in a wide variety of precision industries around the world.