Aero Modifications and Fabrications
The final shape of the body determines the vehicle’s aerodynamic drag, the aerodynamic chassis loadings to create downforce, the necessary vents and ducting for engine and brake cooling, the shrouding around the tires and along the sides for ground effects. These all contribute to the form and function of the vehicle.
Conceived in a Gale Banks Engineering think tank and built in Banks’ styling studio, the aero system is designed to maximize the aerodynamics to generate the utmost cooling efficiency for the brakes and cooling system. Special ducts will act as ram-air inlets for the twin-turbocharged system. These will deliver the filtered and pressurized air to the turbos.
Every body panel is carefully shaped. One of the experts on the Banks Sidewinder D-MAX team is Stylist, Sean Torres, who did all the body shaping and construction of the molds. As the D-MAX team mounted the body to the tube chassis, Torres worked closely with Crew Chief Sheldon Tackett to determine the optimum contours for aerodynamics, as well as vehicle cooling.
Torres, starting with blocks of rigid foam, attaches them to the vehicle and then shapes them to the desired configuration. For large areas, plywood is added to support the foam. This not only allows visualization of the shaping process, it also permits easy revision or changes. Normally, automotive clay is used to cover the foam, but to save time that would otherwise be spent revising the composite molds, Torres uses body filler over the foam. When the prototype shape is finalized, the body filler is sanded to produce a smooth finished surface from which a perfect mold can be made to make replacement parts for any future repairs. The entire process is not merely fabrication; it is also art and sculpture.