2019 WRC Aero development after the first 4 events

The World Rally Teams and drivers have almost covered one third of the season 2019, and, most important, all the surfaces they will find during the rest of the year (tarmac/snow, snow, gravel and tarmac). It’s time then for a first review of the aero modifications introduced during this period, the bodywork/aero jokers spent, according to last list published by FIA and dated on April 3rd, 2019 (see Homologation regulations for nomenclature explanation), the test days consumed (maximum of 42 days in 2019 by Sporting Regulations) as well as the announced modifications to be implemented in the coming months.

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

• Bodywork jokers spent since the end of 2018 season: 2, 1 in December 2018 and 1 in March 2019), and 1 Variant Option (VO) in January 2019.

• Estimated test days consumed to date (April 10th): 10 out of 42 (a 29%)

Ford Fiesta WRC 2018 (left) and 2019 (right)

• Modifications implemented: Modification of the rear bumper (cut on the external sides of the louvred air vents) to improve performance and reliability, introduced in Monte Carlo in both cars. The new rear wheel arches that the team had introduced last year in Finland proved to be too sensitive to rough terrains, for what the team modified them on their external side, in order to minimize the risk of damaging.

Modification of the front bumper geometry, in order to generate a wider space between the bumper and the side vertical strakes, allowing more air to flow on this area. As a result, the lower dive plane becomes more effective in generating downforce in the front of the car, which helps to make the car less understeering. Introduced in Mexico (Evans) and Corsica (both cars), it can be observed in the below pictures by the different shape of the Sparco stickers.

pictures by llluis555 (left) and M-Sport (right)
Ford Fiesta WRC 2019 – Monte Carlo (left) and Tour de Corse (right)

• Modifications to be implemented in the coming months: collaboration with Ford Performance continues this season, for what new aero modifications could be implemented in the near future.

Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team

• No bodywork jokers spent since the end of 2018 season, just 2 Variant Options (VO) in January and March 2019.

• Estimated test days consumed to date (April 10th): 13 out of 42 (a 31%). Toyota benefits from the fact of being located in Finland, so they prepared Rally Sweden inside the permanent testing site proposed by the team, while Monte Carlo tests were done in December, using test days available from 2018.

picture by Toyota Gazoo
J.M.Latvala/M.Anttila, Toyota Yaris WRC, Rally Sweden 2019, 21st

• Modifications implemented: Reduction in the number of stacked louvres in the vents of the rear wheels, to allow better removal of snow/mud accumulated. The reason behind this modification might be in the geometry of the louvres, which have a concave shape (upwards) inside the arch, allowing snow and mud to accumulate there (as shown in the picture below). In opposition, Hyundai louvres have a convex shape, and accumulation of dirt is less frequent. Used only in Sweden, such modification can be implemented with no joker cost, as it is only a variable option.

picture extracted from wrcplus.com images
K.Meeke/S.Marshall, Toyota Yaris WRC, Rally Mexico 2019, 5th

• Modifications to be implemented in the coming months: although the Yaris seems to be the most balanced car, in terms of aero, one of the team main concerns is to reduce the weight of the car, as Makinen explained to RallyMag’s Martin Holmes interview in January. Any change in the car weight distribution will surely have a significant impact on the car balance, for what aero modifications could be easily required.

Citroën Total World Rally Team

• No bodywork jokers spent since the end of 2018 season, just 2 Variant Options (VO) in January and March 2019.

• Estimated test days consumed to date (April 10th): 21 out of 42 (a 50%). In spite of having only two drivers, Citroën has spent almost twice the days of Toyota, due to the lack of snow around their permanent testing site, and the need of additional tests for both drivers to learn and understand the car, which was new to both.

• No visible aero modifications implemented yet

• Aero modifications to be implemented in the coming months: according to Autosport’s David Evans recent interview to Pierre Budar, a new, complete aero package is under preparation for the next months (still in the CFD phase). The new package should allow generating higher downforce at the car front, in order to reduce the understeer claimed by Ogier in Corsica.

picture by Yohan Muller for Planetemarcus
E.Lappi/J.Ferm, Citroën C3 WRC, Test in France, December 2018

• Modifications seen in the tests: Citroën has been testing new winglets over the front arches (similar to those of the Yaris) since November 2018 tests, as well as modified dive planes and a rear wing located at an elevated position, as shown in the picture above.

Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team

• No bodywork jokers spent since the end of 2018 season, just 2 Variant Options (VO) in January and March 2019.

• Estimated test days consumed to date (April 10th): 16 out of 42 (a 38%). The presence of four drivers and the need of additional testing to prepare the aero modifications to be implemented in the coming months has forced Hyundai to spend a significant amount of test days, higher than expected at this time of the season.

• No visible aero modifications implemented yet.

picture by @Flo2b RallyeCorse
D.Sordo/C.Del Barrio, Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC, Tour de Corse 2019 pre-event test

• Modifications to be implemented in the coming months: according to Autosport’s David Evans recent interview to Andrea Adamo, a new aero package will be introduced for Rally Finland next July. This new package will be soon tested by Andreas Mikkelsen, as a compensation for his absence in Corsica. The new package should also allow generating higher downforce at the car front, in order to reduce the understeer claimed by Neuville in Corsica.

• Modifications seen in the tests: although no new modifications have been visually identified, the team has included in the last test sessions different measurement devices (such as in the pictures above and below, over the car roof) to validate data obtained from numerical modelization (Computational Fluid Dynamics or CFD).

picture by @Flo2b RallyeCorse
D.Sordo/C.Del Barrio, Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC, Tour de Corse 2019 pre-event test

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