America's Cup Technologie Aerodynamik


Computational fluid dynamics.


Computational fluid dynamics.

AIR SUPREMACY.Computational fluid dynamics.


A key factor in success.

Foiling has had a lasting impact on competitive sailing. The reason for this is obvious: when yachts like the catamarans at the 35th America’s Cup spend almost the entire race out of the water, aerodynamics is a key factor for winning races.
The modern-day automobile industry and one of the most technically demanding sporting competitions in the world apply the same methods when optimising aerodynamics: wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), digital flow simulation.
The Defender, ORACLE TEAM USA, can count on the know-how and infrastructure of technology partner BMW in the pursuit of those all-important fractions of a second and the optimisation of the aerodynamics of its racing yachts. It is this expertise that has paved the way for the revolutionary vehicle concept of the BMW i8, among other things.


Detailed optimisation.

Every minor improvement can have a major effect: thanks to aerodynamic optimisations, BMW vehicles are constantly becoming more efficient, while the performance of AC catamarans is ever-increasing. To achieve this, turbulence and wakes in the air flow are analysed in detail. The CFD method is more precise than wind tunnel tests, as it makes it possible to analyse every detail of the air flow. 
Particular focus is placed on the cross struts on the hulls, which are among the few components, whose form is not specified in the regulations. The positions of the crew members can also be optimised, as can the connection between the sail and the hull. The differences in pressure on the wing sail generate turbulence, which can be optimised.
CFD is used to test how effective detailed modifications are: how big is the effect? How do they affect the complex aerodynamic interaction between the platform, wing sail and positioning of the crew on board? Comprehensive data collection is also necessary, as any nuance can be crucial.



Clever. Innovative. Efficient.

Every BMW has BMW EfficientDynamics technology as standard. As an intelligent form of energy management, this allows sustainable mobility. The aerodynamically-optimised car design achieves impressive effects for greater dynamism and efficiency.
The BMW engineers can leverage the outstanding infrastructure of the BMW Group Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ) in Munich – one of the largest wind tunnels in the world – and huge computer capacity, with 10,000 processors. The results are impressive: the BMW i8, for example, boasts a drag coefficient (Cd value) of 0.26. In theory, a Cd value of 0.20 is pushing the limits of what is possible for a car that can actually be used. 
Values like this are the result of many detailed aerodynamic solutions, which have a positive effect on efficiency, reducing consumption, and ride stability, as well as reducing noise levels inside the car. These solutions include the active rear spoiler, the Air Blade on the C pillar, and the air breather behind the front wheels.


In its pursuit of aerodynamic advantages, the Defender ORACLE TEAM USA can depend on technology partner BMW, who provides valuable expertise, a wealth of experience and an ultra-modern infrastructure from automobile manufacturing. The BMW Group’s Aerolab at the FIZ has a wind tunnel, which can generate wind speeds of up to 300 km/h. Various software tools are used to analyse the aerodynamics of BMW cars and the ORACLE TEAM USA yachts. These are then optimised virtually in a computer. Finally, they are checked and fine-tuned in the wind tunnel.

Having access to deep technology from world's best engineers and scientists is where BMW provides a huge advantage.
Ian Burns, ORACLE TEAM USA Performance Director

BMW i8.

First of a new era.

The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car is designed to achieve maximum dynamism and optimal efficiency: streamlined chassis, a striking, conical form, and lightweight. They are complimented by many aerodynamically-optimised features, such as the striking LED rear lights, which are designed as air ducts, through which the airflow is guided. Other design features of the BMW i8, based on aerodynamic research, are side skirt diffusers on the rear wheels, aero rims, air curtains on the front wheels, and an adjustable kidney grille.

 BMW Technologie Aerodynamik