nemo evo

motoiq nemo evo

Sneak Peek: The NEMO Racing EVO, Part 1

Text by Eric Hsu & MotoIQ Photos by Jeff Naeyaert


Unless you've been living under a Time Attack rock, there's no doubt you've heard of the amazing NEMO Racing EVO. At the recent 2012 World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney, Australia, the NEMO EVO piloted by Aussie V8 Supercars driver Warren Luff,  did it's best lap time of 1:25.020 which effectively destroyed the CyberEVO's record lap time of 1:28.851. That's 3.831 seconds faster than what was previously the fastest Time Attack car in the world. After the jump I break down exactly why this beautifully constructed EVO is the fastest Time Attack car in the world.

Queensland, Australia based Entrepreneur Chris Eaton was no stranger to motorsports having raced Porsches for five years. But when his mates returned to Queensland back in May 2010 from just attending the World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney, they were raving about how amazing the event was. Chris and his mates already enjoyed being a part of the local Queensland Time Attack scene so they determined that it was mandatory for them to be a part of the big WTAC show.

Since several of his friends already tracked EVOs, Chris was already familiar with the EVO's abilities. He put a couple calls in to locate an EVO in Japan. Within a couple weeks, his importer buddy located an EVO 7 down in Osaka. 


nemo evo original

The NEMO EVO as purchased from Japan back in 2010 had a Tomei 2.2L engine, Greddy T-67 25G turbo upgrade, Tomei 270° Pro Cams, HKS Type R intercooler, Sard fuel rail and 1000cc injectors, Apexi N1 Dampers with Swift springs, C-West front bumper, HKS bonnet (hood), Voltex GT-Wing, and HKS V-Pro ECU.

nemo before build

Only seven days after arriving in Australia before the nationals at Lakside Park, the carpets were ripped out, a roll bar installed, and with a quick retune on local BP 98 octane fuel, it made a healthy 440whp. With the addition of some Michelin slicks, Chris and his mates ripped her around Lakeside Park and had a blast before she was to begin the two year journey to became the NEMO EVO she is today.

Chris was introduced to Tony Porter of Tony Porter Fabrications and Nathan Leech ("G") of Nine West Engineering. Tony was the lead fabricator at Stone Brothers Racing and Nathan was an engineer there as well. Together they are responsible for building some amazing cars in Australia, but one standout is the rebuilding of Eric Bana's "Beast". Tony and G are responsible for the suspension design, engineering, and fabrication of almost the entire car. 

nemo evo build

In the beginning, the car was bolted to a table and the cage was fabricated based on an engineered design. The cage was designed to be more extensive than any other Time Attack car currently in competition. Without rules, I bet it was like Aussie V8 Supercar engineer and fabricators gone wild. Notice the roof panel is cut out and the rear quarter panel is also extensively cut at this point.

nemo evo build

Tubes, tubes, and more tubes. NEMO is the antithesis of the Japanese tuner ideology that a race car "should have some flex" in it.  The front section of the factory floor pan is intact. The sheet metal pieces with the bungs on the floor is the where the pedal box bolts to.

nemo evo build

Triangulation is the name of the game with the extensive cage. Look at that fender gap. Stance Nation unite!

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Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Monday, September 10, 2012 3:42 AM
Just a quick word on tunnels vs diffusers... really they're both variants on the same thing. Tunnel exits are diffusers to slow the air back down to slow back down to meet the stuff going around the car. The difference between what you're probably thinking of is how the exit works. See, underbody aero works like a venturi - pressure at the bit closest to the ground is proportional to the velocity there, and velocity at the bit closest to the ground is similar to the ratio of cross sectional area between there and the exit at the back of the car. With tunnels you can make the exit area a lot larger than a simple flat diffuser because you're moving the aerodynamic surfaces around the mechanical crap in the back (to the side of the rear diff like here) and you can also shape the whole things such that the expansion is a lot smoother and various other wrinkles. As you might imagine, there's a lot of little details to be considered. You also can get suspension and driveshafts out of the tunnels (Nissan did on one of the late prototype cars before the rulesmakers killed tunnels for a while) but it takes a lot of screwing around and the suspension geometry is a bit strange.

They actually did run flat bottoms with just a simple diffuser in LeMans prototypes for a while, but it was only because the rulesmakers mandated it. The problem with flat bottoms though is that if the nose comes up, like over a bump or hill, air gets under the car and then turns it into a big damn wing, and then the driver goes for a bit of a ride. Or flight if they're unlucky. Tunnels don't depend on the car being as precisely close to the ground and at the right angle, so ACO (rulesmakers for LeMans) allowed them again, but only of a specific design.

Cool stuff! Love all the little details, and that it's wishbones all around. I'm actually curious to know how detailed Andrew got the CFD model of the whole thing, purely in a sense of not being sure how detailed it's easy to get at this level of resources as opposed to a factory.
Monday, September 10, 2012 4:03 AM
Jesus christ fucking shit.

Website shat itself.

Disclaimer: I am not the most knowledgeable person about aero, bear with me.

The essence of what I was saying was that the sub wing probably helps the package as a whole. It generates downforce by directing air up (Newton's 3rd law of motion) and could possibly help reduce drag a bit by smoothening the transition of of the air's direction.

I'm curious as to why Andrew chose a flat panel rather than the underside of a teardrop as a shape as it would create more drag. The angle seems a bit much as well, but again, WTF do I know?

Also, I don't see any gurney flaps on the wings? Maybe that's just my shit vision though.

Really hoping for Andrew to chime in on this one.
Monday, September 10, 2012 4:14 AM
I had a smile after seeing "Sneak Peek: The Nemo Racing Evo, Part 1".

7 pages for part 1 of the sneak peek. I'm going to like this.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Monday, September 10, 2012 5:28 AM
Looks like that flat panel is adjustable via turnbuckles; possibly it's there mostly for tuning. Also possibly they ran out of time to iterate on every idea they had for this year. Hard to say.

I wonder if the centerbody of the underbody in the rear could be shrunk any - surely the Evo rear diff isn't that big. But then again, maybe the idea was to have the roof of the tunnels up high enough that they're interacting with the wings, which would mean limiting the width at the exit in order to not have them expanding too much. I'd be a little surprised if we get answers to details like that though. ;)
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Monday, September 10, 2012 5:54 AM
Yeah I think we need to change the name of sneak peek on many of these features. They are the farthest thing from...

Looking forward to the rest Eric!
Monday, September 10, 2012 6:30 AM
No Gurney flaps on any of the aero surfaces?
Monday, September 10, 2012 6:48 AM
Gurney-flaps are a band-aid fix for rules-limited wings and aero surfaces. When you have free reign of your design, you can get away without using them ;)
Turbo Shangbanger
Turbo Shangbangerlink
Monday, September 10, 2012 6:53 AM
The huge trunk lid lip is angled up to enhance/activate the diffuser/tunnel. In some series this is limited to a small gurney flap.
Micah McMahan
Micah McMahanlink
Monday, September 10, 2012 7:04 AM
Kenku, I have a feeling the fuel cell is why you have that width between tunnels ;)

Turbo Shangbanger is spot on and Sobe too. I am hoping Andrew chimes in at some point, although I imagine he'll be hesitant to just blabber about it all but basic principles or ideas might be nice for the fans.

Eric, if it's Ansys it is probably CFD-Flo/Post...
Monday, September 10, 2012 8:39 AM
WTF! I love that there is a venue to create cars like this. I mean, what's left of the original car? The floor pan (kind of), shock towers, firewall, and that's about it. Gullwing doors without a B-pillar? Re-engineered suspension. Huge aero. Huge tires. Wow!
I can't wait to see the follow up articles to this one :)
Monday, September 10, 2012 9:08 AM
ohhhhhh mmyyyyyy gosh....Thank you Eric and Andrew for shareing one of the most bad a$$ production cars converted into a pure mechanicial/aero ecstasy of a Time attack car.......Hey Wife, can you send the kids to their friends house for tonight? :)
Monday, September 10, 2012 9:13 AM
The last shot on page 7 gives some pretty good ideas of the " secret NUTS" design on the front splitter/diffuser. :)
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Monday, September 10, 2012 10:19 AM
Oh yeah, fuel cell. Not a mid-engine prototype car. I forgot that for a sec, somehow. :D
Monday, September 10, 2012 7:12 PM
Awesome article and awesome car, can't wait to read part 2!
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Monday, September 10, 2012 11:53 PM
This car is seriously pretty damn nice. There will be a lot more OMGs, HOLY SHITS!, and WTF?!?! when you guys read part 2 haha. This car is high tech, bad ass, aero'd to the max and all that other cool shit all in one car.

Glad you guys enjoyed the feature. Trust me, I enjoyed writing just checking out all the details in the pictures.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 7:30 AM
I still remember a few years back, while helping out Andrew and his team mate in the bay area on his TA Eclipse, Andrew stated about this project "This is going to blow people's fu$%^#g minds!". He showed me a few pics, then hesitantly pulled back his lap top "I'm so sorry dude, that is all I can show you". I told him it was all good, smiled, and we moved on to the Eclipse.
Now, My initial thoughts were "cool, lets see it in a few years" .. basically, I was skeptical. And this is because I remember meeting a certain Dennis K. at a fellow Evo Meet, again in the bay area even further back, when he whipped out than snazzy iPhone of his to show off pics of what was to become the SSE Evo. We all know what SSE went on to do, and what it didn't.
I am glad to see it all came to fruition. Two years of hard dedicated work to become what is the culmination of the world fastest time attack machinery. I really do believe if this car hits the Japanese and American shores, competitors will have something very, very fierce to fear.
Back to the pictures Drew would not show me. I am not the least bit surprised he will not let anyone photograph the underbody of that Evo, and I don't blame him one bit. I can't wait to see the suspension details, that is what I am most truly enticed by since mentioned to me =)
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 10:30 AM
I don't think that the trunk spoiler is helping the tunnels as much as it helps the rear wing. I've done CFD on rear wings for Lotus Elise's and I found more of a benefit in the interaction between the low pressure zone of the wing and the bodywork. Basically what I worked out is that rear wings can utilize bodywork almost like a front wing in ground effect. Boosting performance especially when utilizing a profile/angle of attack that may separate in free stream air. But airflow is magic and I am very likely wrong. haha
Micah McMahan
Micah McMahanlink
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 10:52 AM
^^^It can be used for that as well, which you'll also notice the panel in the rear windshield. I'm wondering if Andrew was playing with flow through the cabin.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 12:15 PM
Eric - So glad to see that the new job isn't hindering your ability to give us the Awesome! I'm looking forward to updates on Team America as well ;-) November is coming up fast.....
Andrew Brilliant
Andrew Brilliantlink
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 3:13 PM
Yes, this was a very simplified model. That just means how much there is on the table when I can test all the details. I really had to draw on my experience developing for time attack in the past. I have over 1000 CFD, physical and wind tunnel tests just for time attack now. Top level CFD projects will spend more on the base model of the car than the entire nemo build.

I wont talk much about this project, already much more than I would like to be public is public now. I'm used to working under so much secrecy this level of openess feels un-nerving to me. For manufacturer projects, sometimes its NDA to the point where they dont even want people to know they outsourced the design and certainly nobody would ever post a picture from CFD no matter how obscured, blurry or misleading i would have made it (wink).
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 4:27 PM
Excellent article Eric, can't wait to see the rest. Monster of a machine and amazing engineering on so many levels it blows my mind.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 9:18 PM
When we first started building our crappy little street class car, I was absolutely secretive, but as time went on I came to realize. Just because someone has the recipe, doesn't mean they can cook as well as we can.
-Pro Awe Dan
Andrew Brilliant
Andrew Brilliantlink
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 9:44 PM
until someone that is a better funded chef and a lesser recipe designer comes along.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 9:57 PM
Good point. There are a lot of chefs in this world and a whole lot of money.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:26 AM
I've been reading, and I've been smiling; for several reasons.

I remember seeing for the first time the NEMO project last year (the first few pictures shown to the public).....and I jumped on my chair.

I sent a quick email to Eric telling him to check it out, and his first reaction was, "it looks legit, but being a new car, it's gonna have to deal with few bugs to sort thru."
And now look at it! EVERYONE talks about it.

With that said, Chris Eaton, Andrew and the rest of the team can celebrate, they have every right to do so, but I'm 100% positive other well-off peeps (or big companies) are gonna take note and dump more R&D in the next big TA project.

Andrew has been in the center of every single aero conversation among TA enthusiast for quite some time now.
He's been eating the pie all by himself (if you know what I mean).....wait until someone else comes along, and the competition will start to get interesting.

With that said, I can't wait for part 2.
Thanks for sharing Eric!
Andrew Brilliant
Andrew Brilliantlink
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:36 AM
There are now a total of 5 aerodynamicists in Time Attack that I am aware of: I definitely haven't been the only one. These are the other ones I am aware of in no particular order:

Nakajima San (Voltex)
Scott Beeton (Former Williams F1) He did the Mercury R35 from 2011 WTAC
Barry Locke (Former McLaren F1) Has done many pro class cars
and now recently entered the field:
Riccardo Pagliarella (Former Renault F1) Did the Chasers EVO this year
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:13 AM
I wonder why some of them quit F1.

Too much stress/not enough freedom maybe?

F1 would be more "reliable" work, which seems like the way to go these days?
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:16 AM
Also, what did you guys study to become aerodynamicists? Aerospace engineering?
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:10 AM
Sorry Andrew, I should have been more specific.
What I meant was on the US soil.
Besides you, and the gentlemen that takes care of Chris Rado' Scion (I forgot his name).....asides from you two, I'm not aware of anyone else.
Regardless of out many aerodynamicists are out there. In few years the level of motorsports will be raised quite considerably (assuming teams are willing to dump some serious cash in CDF and hire you guys).
Either way, good luck!
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:28 AM
Andrew, I want to say at least I appreciate what details you have felt comfortable sharing. Ever since I started finding details on Prototype aero and doing the math I've been hugely interested in this stuff; actually have some designs for an SCCA CSR (club level single seat prototype) and other stuff around, but they're best-guess aerodynamics. Want to get into CFD or wind tunnels, but it always seemed like the investment (even ignoring the experience needed) is far beyond club level guys - seeing mention of things like the cluster McLaren has at their disposal is interesting but disheartening. So you can imagine how interesting that you're doing CFD based aero development at this level is.
Friday, September 14, 2012 1:09 AM
If Nemo is so off from the production car then I'd rather watch GT1 or LMP. Same idea of advancement but then at the cost of losing it's base. It's like what Import Drag Racing was to the NHRA. Who Import Drag Races now?
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 1:59 PM
Two things I'd like to mention on this:

Vacuum bagging is used on prepreg carbon parts as well. Ideally, the part is laid up, bagged, vacuumed down, and then placed in the autoclave. The combo of vacuum on the inside and exterior pressure from the autoclave yields the best parts. That said, very, very good prepreg parts can be made with just vacuum bagging and an oven. The biggest issue for smaller shops is the storage, prepreg has a finite lifespan, and especially if it's being used in anything production you don't want to be liable for it's failure because you used prepreg that was past it's due date.

The second thing is the secondary wing. If I'm guessing correctly, I'd put money on it reducing the base drag of the car. Simply put, base drag is caused by the pocket of low velocity air a blunt shape makes as it punches through the air. It's part of what makes drafting work. The car sort of pulls a volume of air with it as it moves. By sending the airflow over the back of the car up it interacts with the fast moving air above the car more and less air is dragged along with the car, reducing drag.

But, that's just my speculation. :)
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