Aerospace technology often trickles down to automotive technology. Not in the sense of creating flying cars; we’re quite far from that. What I’m talking about is aerodynamics and the usage of tough-yet-light materials. Rear spoilers, or wings, are sort of like an airplane’s, well, wings. Airbrakes on high-end supercars are like a plane’s ailerons. Actually, they’re not, that’s the flaps… I just love the word aileron.
Normally trickle-down aerospace seems to mean, in layman’s terms, developing and building plane stuff for cars. But what about, instead, recycling plane stuff for cars? SoCal time attack driver and driving instructor Kevin Burke and Rockstar Garage did just that.
Luckily for these guys, most people are never more than six degrees of separation from someone who dismantles airplanes in southern California. Like a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (do nerds still play that in diners?) except instead of him its high-quality, inanimate objects. In SoCal we’ve got a huge airplane boneyard in the Mojave Desert, next to an air force base.
It seems that Mr. Burke has a buddy who’s an airplane dismantler by trade, and sold him a couple 3-foot by 10-foot (that’s right, huge) sheets of carbon fiber. The purpose: Build a smooth flat-bottom for his S2K to improve the car’s aerodynamics. Some race cars and some high-end exotics use such design, but it certainly hasn’t come stock on any Hondas to date. In the carbon chunks’ previous life they apparently made up the floor boards of a Boeing 747. Pretty friggin’ fascinating; of the six times I’ve ridden in one of these iconic airliners, I could’ve been walking on his S2000’s flat bottom.
The reason for the flat bottom is air moves far more efficiently under it, and is easier to direct to a rear diffuser. This is race car engineering, but a lot of street cars actually utilize this, too. They’re often made of plastic, aluminum, or non-747 carbon fiber, and take a bit of work to engineer and build. Luckily, the pieces Kevin got his hands on are perfect. It should actually be pretty easy to put a saw on them, add some retaining hardware, and call it good.
It’s really cool that these materials can be procured from the dismantling industry and live on in motorsports. Plus, it’s more environmentally responsible, which is always a plus.
You can check out more details on the execution here in this video from the Rockstar Garage YouTube channel: