ow important is weight to a racecar?
Very. And aerodynamics? Ditto?
And how important is surface finish?
The answer on that one is “very,” too –
for both of the above reasons.
“On a new IndyCar, a fresh layer of
primer, paint and clear coat will add about
seven pounds,” says Rahal Letterman
Lanigan Racing team manager Ricardo
Nault. “But by the end of the season, with
repairs and resprays, there could be 13
pounds of weight just in the car’s finish.”
Most racecars carry some ballast, but
teams perpetually seek to make everything
as light as possible so they can place
ballast where it’s a performance benefit.
“Reducing the weight of the car’s finish
to be consistently under three pounds
allows as much as 10 pounds to be put
toward ballast, or other parts,” adds Nault.
“Ultimately, we want to put as much of
the car’s weight as low down as possible.”
76 FALL 2016
It’s also incredibly strong. In a test,
AERO 300 withstood 80-grit sandblasting
at 100psi from just 1.25ft away for more
than 10 minutes before being penetrated.
Michael Shank Racing was an early
adopter of AERO in 2012. Shank had long
since stopped painting his racecars, but
was unsatisfied with the results of other
wrap materials, when he met Jim McGuire,
president and CEO of Entrogroup, the
parent company of AERO. Shank tried
AERO in the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Before the race, Michael kept asking,
‘Are you sure we don’t need helicopter
tape?’” recalls McGuire. “Not only did he
not need helicopter tape, but when one of
the cars made contact with a barrier, the
impact cracked the bodywork. AERO held it
Helicopter tape is a clear urethane film
developed to protect military aircraft from
shrapnel during the Vietnam War that
AERO Advanced Paint Technology is making racecars look great
and – bottom line for race teams – helping them go faster.
In recent years, wrapping cars with
vinyl or other film-based applications has
been taking over from paint. Now, AERO
Advanced Paint Technology is taking the
concept to a new level.
AERO is a film-based paint applique.
Coming in at just one-thousandth of an
inch thick, it requires no primer or clear
coat, and only one layer applied directly
to the car’s surface, yet it provides better
elasticity and coverage than liquid paint.
WORDS George Tamayo MAIN IMAGE Michael Levitt/LAT