Turbofans were a symbol of high-performance race cars in the 70s and 80s. Later, they became a statement of the street tuning scene. But buying them can be costly. Drift team Vonka Racing is taking a different approach – printing the turbofan wheel covers themselves using a 3D printer.
Within a week, various prototypes were created, testing materials and designs. The covers are attached to the wheel with special brackets. Initial trials show potential, but also challenges. The parts still tend to be overly flexible and lack rigidity. Precise balancing to avoid vibrations is important. It also remains to be seen how the turbofans hold up at high speeds and in wet conditions.
However, with suitable design, the plastic turbofans could work and be lighter than aluminum versions. The main purpose of the turbofans is to cool the brakes. Heat-resistant plastics would be needed for racing, but standard materials would suffice for show purposes.
According to the team, it’s initially about looks rather than performance. The turbofans can look effective on drifting race cars. If the concept proves successful, 3D-printed turbofans could soon become a tuning trend.