General FAQs that are not specific to the Aero can be found here.
What is the Aero?
It’s a turnkey race-only car designed to race with NASA and SCCA, particularly the NASA ST classes, which are based on power-to-weight.
It uses a powerful and reliable Chevrolet LS3 from Katech Performance, a supplier to the IMSA LMPC series, and many other successful race efforts.
The Aero evokes the look of current Prototype sports cars, but costs a fraction of, for example, an LMP2 car.
The key design goal was to produce a fast, reliable car that could dominate the power-to-weight classes in NASA, and also serve as an excellent track day car for those who preferred not to race in wheel-to-wheel competition.
In terms of race classification, it was designed to run in the NASA ST1 class, and within it’s own Superlite Aero Challenge national championship. Of course, it is easily adaptable for other classes, including Super Unlimited, as well as ST2 and ST3, and also in SCCA SPO and ITE as well.
Can I license it for the street?
No. It’s too low, and doesn’t come with the documentation usually required for registration. It’s a dedicated race car.
For which NASA ST class is it targeted?
ST1 is the fastest ST class, and the Aero fits there, with a gross power to weight ratio of 5.50 lbs per HP. That’s pretty fast.
Can I run it in other classes?
Sure, but to be eligible for the Superlite Aero Championship, you need to run in NASA ST1. To run in a faster or slower class, change power and weight. It’s easy to get much more power from the engine, at the cost of slightly reduced engine life.
What’s the Superlite Aero Championship?
It’s sort of a championship inside a championship. The expectation is that you’ll run in the NASA ST1 class, and get whatever points under that system you may earn. At the same time, unmodified Superlite Aeros can earn points for the Aero championship. At the end of the season, there will be a points fund that will be distributed to the top three points-earning drivers. As more cars enter and compete, there may be more money, and payouts to lower finishing positions. We’ll publish more details about the Aero Championship later, including the way points are calculated, and cash and product awards.
The overriding idea behind the Aero Championship is to foster competition with equal cars, so that driver and setup make the difference between winning or not, instead of finishing positions being determined by the amount a driver spent on the car. That’s one reason that the engines are sealed- so that there is no need to start an engine development program. In ST classes, you have to get your car dyno’d at an approved dyno facilily, and declare the power and weight. NASA can require any car in ST to submit to a dyno test at any time, at the track using their portable dynos, so the risk of someone else cheating up their engine is greatly reduced. And of course, weight is easily and regularly checked at each race. There is often a portable dyno at the track to validate stated power levels in ST, so there is a pretty good chance that all the cars in ST are pretty close to what they should be. That makes for fair, fun racing!
What are the rules for the Aero Championship?
A full set of rules will be published this year, in anticipation of the series start in 2016. We expect the rules to be short and simple, and enforceable.
Are there options for the car?
We expect to offer options soon. We anticipate that we will offer specific air jacks, an upgrade to data acquisition, possibly a kit to facilitate a cool suit installation, a light package for long-distance endurance racing, a larger fuel cell, a dry-break setup, and others.
Is it really race-ready?
Pretty much. You’ll need to make your custom seat with the included professional bead foam kit, add your choice of seat belts, and safety net, do a race alignment to your specifications, add fuel and oil, and press the starter button. Of course, you’ll need a competition license, and personal safety gear to actually go racing- or just a regular drivers license for most track days.
Is it easy to get a NASA license?
NASA will often accept an SCCA or similar license or experience in lieu of going through their normal process. Otherwise, you begin running the car in HPDEs, and with instruction and experience, earn your NASA competition license. See their web page for more details here.
How does this compare to the new NASA NP01?
It doesn’t, really. Though the cars are externally similar, the Aero is slightly larger, faster, and much more powerful. It also runs in the NASA ST1 class, where the NP01 runs in it’s own spec class that is much slower than ST1.
The Aero is also considerably less expensive for a turnkey car.
How expensive is the Aero to race?
One of the design goals for the Superlite Aero was very low maintenance costs for both normal wear items, and crash repair. The body parts are relatively inexpensive and available in parts form (as opposed to needing an entire body when a fender is damaged), the suspension is designed to dissipate energy by breaking away with minimal damage to the chassis and suspension parts, and each corner of the car in terms of suspension parts is mostly the same, so the spares list is greatly reduced.
Because the engine is making much less power than it normally does, life is correspondingly lengthened. We think the standard engine should last at least two seasons of normal racing with no appreciable loss of power, if maintained correctly.