How it Works

McLaren Tech Club reveals how the windscreen-less Elva uses its air canopy

The hood vent on the Elva plays a big role in driver comfort.

Photo courtesy of McLaren

Say what? Yes, the McLaren Elva has no windscreen, but its air canopy keeps you comfortable. That folks is a marvel of modern engineering.

In the first episode of the McLaren Tech Club series, Director of Engineering Design, Dan Parry-Williams shares the secrets behind the new supercar's engineering that make the Elva a comfortable drive, event at 70 mph.

"With absolutely nothing between you and the wind coming at you, would it be possible to create a virtual canopy? That was the challenge we set ourselves with the design of the new Elva," said Parry-Williams.

Mclaren ElvaThe Elva has a rear spoiler.Photo courtesy of McLaren

Designers crafted the Elva with the directive of creating a vehicle that punctuated the pleasure of driving. To get to the rawness of the driving experience, McLaren's team cleared the vehicle of anything that wasn't a necessity, including the windscreen.

The team set off to try their hand creating a what Parry-Williams calls a "virtual canopy". In essence, could the team manage the flow of air over the hood of the car in a way to create a near-bubble that would hone that "perfect" driving experience?

The answer was yes.

Enter the active air management system.

Air flows through the front of the car via the air dam and splitter to a hook shaped duct on the hood. When the air exits the vehicle, it is pushed out, away from the driver and passenger, and up at a high rate of speed.

McLaren ElvaThis graphic shows how the Elva responds in a wind tunnel.Photo courtesy of McLaren

Like two storm fronts clashing, the forced air meets the air surrounding the car, rushing toward the traditional driver's area. At their intersection, the forward forced air is bent backwards by the strength of the rushing air and moves across the top of the Elva where a traditional roof would sit.

"If you're sitting in the car with the system deployed at, let's say, 100 km/h you can sit here in relative calm. Your hair, if you have hair," said the balding Parry-Williams, "is unruffled."

At higher speeds, a gurney rises from the vent at the front of the car, to further assist with wind control. Higher speeds are welcome, of course, thanks to the car's twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine yielding 803 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.

The entire system can be shut off from inside the car.

At the rear of the Elva is a full width carbon fiber active spoiler that changes position to maintain aerodynamic balance. It can become an airbrake and add stopping power when needed.

McLaren Tech Club - Episode 1 - How the Elva keeps your comfortable at 70mph without a windscreenwww.youtube.com

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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The Z06 isn't on sale yet, but it's already raising money for charities.

Chevrolet

Just a couple years ago, the Chevrolet Corvette got a major overhaul that completely changed its design, personality, and performance. The car moved to a mid-engine layout for the first time, and its V8 produces thundering performance at a reasonable price. As it has always done with the Corvette, Chevy's laying out special editions for the car, and one of the first in the new generation will be the 2023 Corvette Z06. An early Z06 sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction this weekend to raise money for charity, and the final dollar amount crested the $1 million mark.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06The car raised $1 million at the Palm Beach Auction. Chevrolet

The car crossed the block at the Palm Beach Auction, which took place on April 9. It's the first production model of the car, which builds on the mid-engine eighth-generation Corvette. It's powered by a 670-horsepower 5.5-liter flat plane-crank V8, which sends its power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The engine revs much higher than a standard V8 and features a distinct sound. Chevy says the Z06's engine offers the most horsepower of any naturally aspirated V8 on sale.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06Rick Hendrick was the winning bidder for the car. 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The car's $1 million price tag raised money for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The organization supports training of educators at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI). This auction, together with the first retail version of the car auctioned earlier this year, brings the Corvette's total charity haul to $4.6 million in 2022.

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