In the Abu Dhabi heat Team Chambliss arrived with a raceplane that had benefitted from plenty of modifications. These included a stripped down paint scheme to save weight, winglet development and a new cooling system.
The cooling system turned heads in Abu Dhabi when other teams spotted a 'gill' on the side of the engine cowling. It's a panel on the side that can be opened and closed to better control the engine temperature. "That Gill is part of the oil cooler system," explained Paul Iscold, Team Chambliss' aerodynamicist. "It is the exit for the air. This system is an optimised version of the one that I designed for Paul's [Bonhomme] raceplane. On his plane the "gills" are on the bottom of the belly panel," he added.
Chambliss' gill can be seen under the wing of his raceplane. Photo: Balazs Gardi/RBAR
This gill allows the team better control over the oil temperature. It's a compromise between oil that's too hot and drag on the raceplane. As the gill is adjustable it can benefit Chambliss in any flying condition. "We can ensure we have the correct oil temperature (and minimum drag) for each weather condition," explained Iscold.
When asked about other changes under the cowling, Iscold wasn't releasing any other secrets. "You can't ask a question like that, expect an answer and stay alive! Let's just say that Kirby's plane now has a cooling system that is probably the closest to the optimum that you can get. Of course, next year we will have a better one after we have analysed the information from this one!" he concluded.