Motor racing has spawned or catalyzed countless technological innovations that have made road cars safer and more efficient. Rearview mirrors, disk brakes, alloy wheels… the list is endless. But a promising technology that already appeared in Formula One in the 1970s has not made the transition from racing and sports cars to ordinary road cars yet: the aerodynamic undertray. Corellian, a Dutch start-up, has made it its mission to use this technology to reduce the fuel consumption of ordinary road cars by 15 percent. And they could not do it without carbon fiber composites.
Sander Kemna and Mark Tullemans have a lot in common. They both graduated in mechanical engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology, and they both have a background in motor racing. Sander Kemna was moonlighting as a racing and skid control driving instructor while attending university. “My dad bought a go-kart because he loved technology and cars,” he says. “So, it became a hobby for me and grew into a passion.” He adds that he already tried an aerodynamic undertray in his karting days: “I once did a race at the Zandvoort track and was a few seconds down on the top runners. So as a last-ditch effort, I made a cardboard floor and attached it to the kart to improve its aerodynamics. I’d already learned about that at university. I instantly was a few seconds a lap quicker. Unfortunately, I was subsequently disqualified because the aerodynamic floor was deemed an illegal advantage.”
This article appeared in the Sept/Oct issue of Reinforced Plastics.