Today I learned about the revolutionary cooling system in a 1989 Sauber C9 Mercedes-Benz, which is the fancy racecar you drive around a canyon track in today’s rivals event. Wait, don’t go! I know it sounds boring. But it’s not what you’re thinking. It’s like something out of Cyberpunk 2077. I’ve even included video!
Driving from the cockpit view of this Mercedes-Benz, you’ll see the vents in the fender above your front wheels. These are obviously to help airflow for cooling. That’s what vents do. But the fenders over the front wheel do something I’ve never seen before. As you can see in the video, they’re apparently hinged, so that they can rapidly flap up and down. At first I figured this must be part of how the car managed brake temperature. Brakes get really hot. It generates a lot of heat to slow down a car that’s going 200mph. But the fenders don’t always flap when you brake. Sometimes they flap when you’re coasting or accelerating. I can only conclude there’s some sort of automated sensors that flap whenever excess heat needs to be bled from the wheel wells. Ingenious!
But as you’ll note from the video above, it’s not just the fenders over the wheel well that flap. At the fifteen-second mark, you can see from the hood cam that the front grill is also part of this hinged cooling system. Even more ingenious! It reminds me of the engineering ingenuity in fighter planes in World War II that allowed their guns to fire through the plane’s propellers. A timing chain limited the gunfire to the precise moment a bullet would pass between the propeller’s turning blades. Similarly, the fender and grill of the Sauber C9 Mercedes-Benz are part of an automated cooling system that increases the air flow dynamically, cooling both the brakes and the engine at the precise moments they need cooling. Astounding!
But that’s not the most impressive part. At the thirty-second mark, I replay the same section from external trackside cameras. Now you can see the fender and grill as a spectator would see them. They’re flapping so efficiently that you can’t even perceive their motion from this distance and perspective! The car’s sleek appearance is entirely intact. Beautiful!
Like quality assurance, technology never ceases to amaze me!