.... I do agree with you about finding out "the point of no return" but it would be costly to find that out (but less costly than an backwards car going airborne at 200 mph).
I would think rather than spending research dollars to find that point, when in reality when a car gets to that point, the driver is not going to be able to react quick enough to employ any defensive counter measures to correct. ...
This is the problem, and it is clearly better to keep the car going straight than to spend a lot of time on blow-out panels and figuring out whether the car will lift between the time it gets sideways and the time it's going backwards. Nascar spent tens of millions solving this problem for one car (COT). In LSR we don't have that kind of budget.
Sorry for the people I didn't see on the weekend, I did walk the whole pits twice and introduced myself to anyone who wanted to take a stab at me if they were there. I missed at least a dozen people I'd really like to spend some time with. I met a lot of great people I'd missed in my last two trips, I look forward to meeting more next year.
This whole thread seems to have evolved into a discussion of steering control vs. yaw stability vs. how we keep cars from flying. Several highly experienced sedan and roadster record holders have firmly stated that control trumps aero (at least up to the point of their current setups). More than one have asked me if there is anything to make things more aero stable (meaning yaw-stable). With a firm grasp on the rule book, here's a couple of suggestions:
1. Tuft the car. OK, I'm flailing the deceased equine here. I don't want anyone to take my word for anything, I want people to go down to the craft store, buy some rug yarn (3" long) and tape it to the spoiler, sides and roof and trunk of the car and then tell me what they see. It's not pretty, and everyone who does will have a better understanding of how their B-to-C pillar and roof-to-trunk flow interacts with their "flat" spoilers and "flat" spill plates. Relative to the flow off of the car, these things are anything but flat.
2. Test. It only takes 20 to 40 mph for most of the separation and reversed flow effects to show up on the yarn. It will be the same at 300. Find some parking lot without law enforcement and spin some doughnuts. Video and photograph the tufts at the yaw angle of the doughnut; it's cheaper and faster than a wind tunnel with yaw capacity. Put cheap tires on. I would ask anyone who believes the flow going off the back of the car is fine to post pictures of their tuft tests. I didn't see a single good aft closure during all of speed week. If anyone disagrees, post some photos of the aft deck and bumper areas with tufts. Even if you KNOW it's bad, do the test anyway: the data will help you make a better setup within the rules. I have told the best test pilots in the industry where the reversed flow is and they believe me; it doesn't matter. They act on it when they see the yarn go backwards.
3. I saw lots of cars of all classes that allow wings with rules-limited "spill plates". In the aero world, we call these things "end plates". For a wing, their function is to make the wing more effective by minimizing tip vortexes. For yaw, they should simply be as big, high, and as far aft as possible. To this I would add that most car bodies would benefit from wider, not narrower, end plates. If this creates too much spoiler downforce, de-camber the spoiler. Keep the end plates at the maximum size and width that the rules allow.
4. Remember to add the yaw stability that comes from diffuser fences. About half of the cars I saw used diffusers, some well, some not-so-well. Verticals down there are tails too. A few lakesters and roadsters were quite impressive in this area IM<HO.
Now we get into the tricky stuff. 3 teams have told me that they know they are unstable and, with varying levels of interest vs. derision, have asked me how to make it better. Here goes: Make the spill plates bigger, align them with local flow areas induced by the rest of the car (what works on a '53 Stude is different from what works on an '86 Camero), do everything you can under the car, and set the parachutes to eject up into clean air, not back into dirty air, so they can deploy before you are all the way around in a spin. If anyone wants help, call me. If anyone thinks I'm an idiot, fine, tuft the car during some doughnuts and post photos; we all learn from tests.
The time to find out about stability is BEFORE the spin.