This is a follow up to a previous question of mine: How do I keep my futuristic racing hovercraft from becoming airplanes?
I'm in planning stages for a futuristic racing game and I'm trying to figure out what the aerodynamic body plans for my vehicles would look like based on how they are supposed to function within the setting. Unfortunately, I don't have the money for virtual wind tunnel software, so I can't really just experiment with it myself.
I intend for the craft to hover on a cushion of air created by a combination of the ground effect and vertical thrusters. The reliance on that air cushion pushing up on the bottom of the craft keeps them at a relatively constant height to the ground while under their own power. The vertical thrusters are meant to generate lift and to supplement the pressure cushion while at low speeds and when making hard turns that might disrupt it. As the craft builds up speed and the ground effect kicks in, power is diverted from those vertical thrusters to the main thrusters to go even faster.
As discussed in the previous question, the aerodynamic profiles of these hovercraft are not supposed to allow them to go into sustained flight. Gliding is allowed if a craft is separated from the ground to prevent a crash and for higher risk races that might involve jumping over something (or the absence of something.) The vertical thrusters are also meant to assist with slowing a fall and trying to rapidly rebuild the air cushion before the bottom of the craft smashes into the ground or to mitigate the damage done if it is going to bottom out.
These craft are meant to make some pretty hard turns. My inspiration was the podracing scene from Star Wars: Episode I (and the racing game that came out with it) and that was the level of speed I was looking for, but with more realistic vehicles.
I know real world ground effect craft like ekranoplans didn't have the best turn radius, especially for the type of game I'm making, so I don't think I can pull much visual inspiration from them. I was thinking something like the designs from the F-Zero and Wipeout games, but made a little more realistic. What types of body plans might give me the lift I need, without becoming an airplane, while allowing for tight turns?
Whether they're obscure real world prototypes I haven't found, fictional craft or just a general shape to follow, I'd like to see examples that will help me pull together a general theme to start designing my own vehicles for the game.