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Motorsport to Aerospace


MIA Technology Partners



Did you know?

That aerodynamically, a race car operates as an aeroplane in reverse?

For the motoring experts among you, you’ll no doubt be aware that an F1 car produces an incredible amount of downforce. In theory, it could overcome gravity and race upside down across a ceiling.

In fact, an F1 car produces enough downforce that, theoretically, it could overcome gravity and race upside-down along a ceiling. Downforce and drag levels are so important that racing teams commit huge amounts of R&D resource to improving their cars' aerodynamic performance.

Striking a balance between downforce and drag levels is crucial to gaining that competitive edge so it’s no wonder that racing teams commit a huge amount of R&D resource to improving their cars' aerodynamic performance.

Motorsport and its aerodynamics experts

For the successful motorsport team, there’s huge potential for financial reward. To attain success and be the best is, as we know, highly competitive. It’s therefore true to say that motorsport engineers are some of the world's most advanced aerodynamicists. 

There are obvious synergies between motorsport and aerospace. Many aerospace companies frequently turn to motorsport to provide aerodynamic design assistance. Similarly, race teams look to aerospace for assistance such as the use of wind tunnels for testing - in the case of F1 teams, shifts run on an almost 24/7 basis. Motorsport has also been at the forefront of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software and hardware development.


 Aerodynamics are a key performance differentiator in motorsport and wind tunnel use is commonplace  

Wirth Research is a world leader
in CFD analysis


Manufacturing similarities between aerospace and motorsport

Manufacturing demands for both industries are alike. Top-end motorsport habitually uses aerospace-grade metals and advanced metrological inspection. This means that many motorsport firms have the ISO accreditation necessary for aerospace supply.

Over 80% of an F1 car's volume is made from composite materials; its advanced use in aerodynamic and structural components has been the norm for over two decades. For some companies this has enabled a crossover into aerospace.


Wind tunnel model of Lola's IndyCar proposal, with a Voodoo UAV in the background 

 BAE Systems Mantis UAS  

Thales Watchkeeper


The MIA - helping to effectuate diversification

The MIA continues to help its members see where there is the potential for both industries to benefit from the cross pollination of ideas. Here Ricardo UK explains:

“Thanks to the MIA’s visit to Airbus, I have had the opportunity to visit somewhere that would not have been ordinarily possible. The visit was interesting and informative, and also gave me the initial contact into Airbus direct.”

Mick Strong
Ricardo UK


Motorsport to Aerospace News

Past events


For more information please call the Helen Jones on +44 (0)2476 692600 or email helen.jones@the-mia.com