Engineering

The ARVW is the most aerodynamic vehicle Volkswagen ever built

Volkswagen engineers created the unique car to test the limits of aerodynamics.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Aerodynamics play a big role in vehicle engineering - at least as much as the engine itself. The slicker a vehicle is, the larger the possibility for excellent fuel economy is.

Over the last century, automakers have experimented with a variety of designs and feature to demonstrate the relationship between drag and power. One such design, the 1980 Aerodynamic Research Volkswagen (ARVW) has the honor of being the most aerodynamic vehicle VW ever built.

1980 Aerodynamic Research Volkswagen The design of the model was launched as a reaction fo the oil crisis of the 1970s.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In the 1970s, a number of developed nations including the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, and the U.K. were affected by inflated prices and lack of supply of oil. Drivers truly began, for the first time in modern history, considering how many miles per gallon their vehicles got and how that impacted their household budget.

The ARVW was designed to push the limits of aerodynamics and light weighting. Together, it was proposed that the two elements could generate high speed from a traditional amount of power.

VW engineers built the ARVW to be just 33 inches tall and 43.3 inches wide. It was shaped for aerodynamic smoothness. Volkswagen says that the first challenge was squeezing a driver, powertrain, and four wheels into a body that would have the smallest profile possible.

The second challenge was maximizing those aerodynamics and equipment with stability.

1980 Aerodynamic Research Volkswagen The model eventually reached 225 mph on the track.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Engineers made a fiberglass and carbon body to cover an aluminum frame. Power came from a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-six engine that produced 177 horsepower, which set behind the driver in the rear-wheel drive car. An onboard water tank injected water into the turbochargers intake and a cooling vent was positioned at the car's nose.

The model's coefficient of drag was rated at 0.15, making it sleeker than any production vehicle VW ever made.

Following the build, a team of Volkswagen engineers and an open-wheel racing driver went to the Nardo test track in Italy to put the car to the test. Within the first hour of testing, the car reached 221 mph. By the end of the day, that number was up to 225. The team took home two world speed records in the process.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Yamaha Grand National Cross Country University gives drivers the opportunity to hone their skills.

Photo courtesy of Yamaha

Registration for the Yamaha Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) University is now open. The unique school allows off-road racers and riders to hone their skills with some of the best off-road racers of all time. Each master class highlights off-road racing fundamentals including sportsmanship, training, proper nutrition, and race preparation, along with hands-on technical riding instruction.

The event will return to Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia and be followed by a full weekend of racing. Dates for the event are September 23-25, 2020. Reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis with 80 openings evenly split between ATV and motorcycle disciplines.

Photo courtesy of Yamaha

"Racing is back, Yamaha GNCC University registration is open, and the resilience of the Powersports industry was on display this past weekend as many appreciated the opportunity to get back outdoors and enjoy the sport we love while still respecting the space and wishes of fellow race fans," said Steve Nessl, Yamaha's Motorsports group marketing manager. "We celebrate podiums and championships at the end of a race day, but it is the time spent at the races on the whole that we take away as precious memories. That's why Yamaha GNCC University is such a special event, as it offers the next-generation of racers the opportunity to build not only memories, but also their race skill-set alongside past champions and legends of the sport."

ATV Classes will be led by:

  • Johnny Gallagher, XC1 Pro ATV rider celebrating 26 years racing at a pro-level.
  • Walker Fowler, five-time GNCC XC1 Pro ATV champion, and current undefeated series leader.
  • Traci Pickens, 12-time WXC ATV champion.
  • Mark Notman, retired Pro ATV racer and elite Walker Fowler Racing mechanic.
  • Josh Merritt, XC1 Pro ATV racer.

Motorcycle classes will be led by:

  • Randy Hawkins, seven-time AMA National Enduro champion and AmPro Yamaha Racing team owner.
  • Jason Raines, five-time AMA National Hare Scramble champion.
  • Layne Michael, XC1 Open Pro motorcycle rider.
  • Michael Witkowski, XC2 250 Pro motorcycle rider.
  • Becca Sheets, WXC motorcycle and undefeated class leader.
  • Rachael Archer, WXC motorcycle rider.

Rider can register by calling the resort at 877-441-4386 or find more information online at GNCCRacing.com.

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Tanner Foust has worn many hats but one of his best-known roles is as a stunt driver in the Jason Bourne movies.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Tanner Foust is more than just a four-time Rallycross Champion, multi-time X Games gold medalist, World Indoor Speed Record holder, and former host of the American version of "Top Gear". He's also Jason Bourne.

While Bourne is traditionally played by a Hollywood superstar during closeups, it is Tanner Foust in the role of the fictitious secret agent in many of the films driving scenes in two of the movies, "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "The Bourne Legacy".

"Some of the stunt guys can light themselves on fire, have a martial arts battle on top of a building and then jump off it," Foust told Top Gear Philippines in 2012 while he was in Malina filming "The Bourne Legacy". "But it's difficult for stunt guys to really develop an auto racing technique. It's's a specialty and it's expensive when you crash a car so I'm lucky enough to get to crash cars all the time."

Tanner Foust Volkswagen racing Foust's other role is as a Volkswagen ambassador.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Foust's skills have also put him behind the wheel as a stunt driver in "Iron Man 2", "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw", and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" among others. For his efforts, Foust has been thrice nominated for trophies at the Taurus World Stunt Awards.

When he's not on movie sets, the 46-year old Foust spends much of his time behind the wheel of Volkswagens. He is the company's R brand ambassador. As part of that role, he is actively involved in the coordination and approval process for new Volkswagen R vehicles.

"Tanner Foust is a man of many talents. Of course, it's his skills behind the wheel that stand out the most. With his positive mindset and infectious passion for sporty cars, he is also a really likeable guy. Tanner is a great fit for us and represents everything that Volkswagen R stands for around the globe—in a charismatic and authentic manner," says Jost Capito, Managing Director at Volkswagen R. "His expertise is also a genuine advantage for the development and optimization of R models."

His latest test car is the eR1, a model designed for a 100-percet electric racing car based on the body of a Volkswagen Golf. "The future of Volkswagen and motorsport is electric," says Foust.

Recently, Volkswagen Group board member Jurgen Stackmann echoed what Foust said, telling Top Gear that, "The future of R needs to be, and will be, electric." "We're still working," he continued, "on what we started two and half years ago – which was obviously not electric, though exciting – but the work going forward is and will be electrified."

The Group has not made it a secret that their push toward electrification and electric vehicles is a top priority for the company. From Bentley to Audi to Volkswagen, the push is on in earnest whether for electrified or fully electric vehicles.

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