A snow sledge designed to beat the world speed record has been tested by Toyota Motorsport at its 30,000m2 high-performance testing and development facility in Cologne, Germany.
The carbon fibre sledge is the brainchild of Snowspeed, a Norwegian team of designers and speed enthusiasts. Their goal is to beat the world speed record in a gravity powered snow sledge designed to reach 250km/h (155 mph). The current world speed record is held by the British television personality, motor biker and lorry mechanic Guy Martin. In 2014, who piloted a sledge at 134.36km/h (83.49 mph).
The snow sledge that was tested in TMG’s wind tunnel is a 50% scale model. Aerodynamic testing in the wind tunnel delivers data gathered with the same sort of hi-tech equipment that is used to test road and race cars.
Mounted to an overhead strut and with a continuous rolling road under the skis, the wind was turned on and gradually increased to test how the Snowspeed sledge behaves at speed. The wind speed reached 40m/s and stabilised, with TMG’s advanced wind tunnel systems recording sideforce, downforce, drag, roll, pitch and yaw through sensors in the strut.
The data helps the designer continue to improve the sledge in order to minimise drag and maximise speed. Moreover, it aids the fine-tuning of the sledge design to ensure it remains balanced in response to forces such as headwind and turbulence. In addition, analysis of the data helps with the creation of a sledge that is stable at speed, by ensuring there is equal side force on either side of the sledge.
Data on the three movements – roll, pitch and yaw – was also generated in TMG’s wind tunnel. This helps the Snowspeed designers identify how to best position the sledge on the skis. During testing, the base of Snowspeed’s skis were covered in Teflon to reduce friction against the rolling road that rotated beneath it.
The Snowspeed sledge was penned by Oslo-based designers Nima Shahinian and Anders Aannestad. To date, the team has built three prototypes.