How much faster can you make a fast triathlete like Laura Philipp with aero optimization in the wind tunnel? May 31st 2017, after winning two Ironman 70.3 in a row, it was the day to find out. The assumption ranged from conservative to euphoric. Swiss Side aero expert Jean-Paul Ballard guessed that there are about 1-3 minutes to be saved for Laura with the right material choice, on a middle distance triathlon bike course of 90 kilometer. Laura Philipp herself estimated the improvement to be about 1 minute. Other estimates were in the 1–6 minute range.
Before we even started the optimization in the wind tunnel 1 minute was found by changing her Continental TT slick front tyre to the GP 4000s II model (both in 23c). For any aero wheel to work aerodynamically in cross-winds, it’s important to have the right tyre! We then kicked off the day with testing different race-suits, followed by different helmets with/without visor and finally we took a look at different hydration systems.
With the improvements of the new Castelli race-suit, the best choice of helmet for Laura, as well using the right aerodynamic tyre, a total of 15W drag were saved. This translates to a saving of over 3 minutes on a typical 90 kilometer long triathlon bike course. -3 minutes without any additional training or any position changes, just with the choice of the right equipment. Laura was happy to take it! Not surprising, that our aero expert Jean-Paul Ballard with his unique experience in wind tunnel testing and aero optimization won the bet!
Photos: Marcel Hilger