The present work focuses on a three-dimensional CFD approach to predict the performance of various heat exchangers in conjunction with non-isothermal transitional flows for motorsport applications. The objective of this study is to determine the heat transfer, pressure drop and inhomogeneous flow behaviour for distinct heat exchangers to identify an optimum configuration for the charge air cooler, water and oil radiators placed in the sidepods of a formula one (F1) car. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of various heat exchanger configurations has been carried out in this work. In order to assess the reliability of the obtained results, a mesh sensitivity study along with additional parametric investigations have been performed to provide numerical parameters predicting accurately (a) the heat transfer rate at the fluid-solid interface and (b) the sporadic separation. As a result of the performed validation procedure in this study, the aerodynamic- and thermal boundary layer development along with the convective characteristics of the air flow have been captured accurately near to the heated surface. The characterization of a heat exchanger core and a core configuration in a closed domain is also possible with this procedure. The presented three-dimensional CFD approach could overcome the difficulties of macroscopic heat exchanger and porous media methods for F1 applications, because it can be used to predict the heat transfer and pressure drop related to the mass flow rate correlation curves. The contribution of fins to the total heat transfer rate has been predicted theoretically, and application benchmark test cases have been presented to analyze five different heat exchanger configurations in accordance with the 2014 formula one technical regulations. The numerical data extracted directly from three-dimensional CFD simulations can be used in the sidepod design process of the external cooling system of F1 engines.