Air management

How the invisible windshield of the active air management system of the McLaren Elva works


McLaren unveiled its open-top Elva supercar last week, and aside from its striking looks and massive power, there was one thing that stood out: a system developed by the company called the Active Air Management System (or AAMS).

The system creates a channel that runs through the nose of the car and exits the hood. The objective is to direct the air above the cabin to develop a kind of virtual windshield. The Gurney shutter shown in this computational fluid dynamics video above folds back from the body when the system is in use, providing a low pressure system to keep everything working as intended.

It sounds a little strange, we know, but it works. As you can see, the air is directed over and around the cabin, forming a sort of bubble where the cockpit is largely undisturbed. British publication Piston heads took a ride in the Elva with and without the system in place, and according to them there was a noticeable difference between 30 and 70 mph.

McLaren confirmed Piston heads the system won’t run well beyond 70mph, and since it needs a lot of air to run, it won’t run exactly at low speeds either. But you have to admit, it’s an extremely smart way to make the open cockpit experience a little more livable. We are curious to try it for ourselves.

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