Car tech used to avoid Olympic torch embarrassment

Car technology is helping Olympic organisers avoid embarrassment during the 2012 London Olympics by ensuring the Olympic torch does not go out in typical British weather.

BMW has offered organisers the use of its ‘environmental test centre’ to subject the torch to wind, rain and freezing temperatures as it gets ready to face British weather.

While British fans of the Olympics will be hoping for summer weather during the games, the iconic torch has been tested in -5 degrees Celsius right up to 40 degrees Celsius and in wins up to 50mph.

A car testing centre was seen as the ideal place to test out the Olympic torch after new cars are put through extreme weather tests before ever making it on sale in UK dealerships.

While the Olympic torch had to face weather conditions experienced on Mount Snowden and the balmy England South Coast, cars are tested at much more difficult levels.

One of the most extensively-tested cars in recent years is the all-new Ford Focus.

The hatchback was subjected to some of the harshest weather in the UK during its testing phase to ensure customers would not need to worry about temperatures plummeting during the typically-cold UK winter.

Driven over frozen lakes at temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius, the new Ford Focus was also driven through some of the world’s hottest deserts.

It was also loaded up with trailers to take on the steep roads of the Austrian Alps and driven to altitudes of up to 2,500 metres before Ford declared it ready for UK showrooms.

However, it is in the wind tunnel where testing can really benefit a car buyer. Wind tunnels are essential to get the shape of the car correct.

The wind tunnel can show how the car reacts to air flowing over its body as it drives. The more aerodynamic a car is, the better it allows air to flow past.

This means it can punch through the air easier and needs less fuel to push it through – ultimately leading to higher fuel economy and less trips to the pumps.

A wind tunnel can recreate high winds to show imperfections in design that might affect aerodynamics. IT can also be used to reduce wind noise inside the car, making for a more serene drive, as this video shows:


You can view the 2012 London Olympic torch route here