The Greatest Aerodynamic Features Found In Race Cars

We have 3 major reasons to improve the aerodynamics of our race cars in terms of performance. These are to take care of the downforce, to activate cooling, and to minimize the drag.

If you’re thinking about how to start boosting your race cars’ performance, it’s best for you to fully know the aerodynamic features of your car from front to back.

aerodynamic race car

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But before that, let’s try to talk further about aerodynamics first. Aerodynamics is all about the study of motion in relation to air, especially when it engages with a solid object like an airplane wing. It’s often seen synonymous with gas dynamics. Gas dynamics isn’t just limited to air. Race cars can be part of this too.

The study of aerodynamics started in the 18th century. Recent works on aerodynamics now focus on concerns about turbulence, compressible flow, and boundary levels which are not just limited to air vehicles but to land-based ones as well, including that of a race car.


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Here are some of the aerodynamic features of race cars. Knowing these will surely help you know further about how your race car works and how it could further boost its performance.

1. Splitter

Front splitters are an essential aerodynamic component which serves to bring balance to the front and rare distribution of the down force. A splitter is usually located on the front-end part of a racing car, emerging as the flat extension to the front bumper’s bottom part.

The splitter is also the main edge on the car’s front part, fairly parallel to the ground that tries to keep the high- pressure air on top of the car instead of flowing beneath it. The high pressure then pushes down on your car’s splitter, enabling the creation of a down force.

2. Dive Planes

Diving planes are also called hydroplanes. They serve as the control surface found on submarines that make the vessel stern up or down and pitch its bow to facilitate in the process of surfacing or submerging the boat as well as managing depth when plunged.

In terms of race cars, dive planes are fixtures that are usually found on the front bumper’s left sides. They’re curved in order to redirect the airflow at the car’s front upward, leading to a down force. They are also utilized to change the airflow by the vehicle’s sides, minimizing the extent of high pressure which goes beneath the car (increasing or reducing the down force)

3. Hood Vents

Ventilated hoods enable a clean exit for the air that passes through the radiator. They also facilitate in maintaining the airflow through the engine bay, boosting the cooling process.

4. NACA Ducts

A NACA duct, also called NACA inlet or NACA scoop, is a typical form of low-drag air inlet car system which was originally established in the US NACA or National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1945.

If accurately set, NACA ducts allow the air to flow into the internal duct, usually to cool, with little to no disturbance to its flow. NACA ducts’ design was initially known as “submerged inlet” because it has a shallow ramp with a curved set of walls sunken into the bared part of a streamlined body, like that of an aircraft. It’s especially used in a race car design.

Speaking of race car design, these air scoops are actually designed to achieve a minimal effect on airflow while still making an inlet for the airflow. They could be used in almost any app which needs airflow, whether that involves feeding a radiator, air intake, or even cooling for the driver. An example of a model that has extensively used NACA ducts is the Ferrari F40.

5. Side Vents

A side vent is seen behind the rear or front wheels, enabling the airflow to take off from the wheel wells that usually stays turbulent from the wheels’ rotation. This could also be used to channel the hot air out from the car’s engine bay.

6. Side Skirt

Side skirts have somewhat the same principle with splitters. They’re in place, and ideally as low as they can, to avoid high-pressure air from moving beneath the car.

Also, you can bring the aesthetics to new heights with the presence of side skirts. Lots of the most sought-after cars today use side skirt to make their trucks and cars appear lower to the ground. It boosts a better air flow and exudes an exquisite custom look as well.

The airflow around your truck or car will be changed and that helps in achieving a good high-speed stability and fuel mileage. There are aftermarket side skirts that come in all shapes and sizes, so you can choose the perfect one that suits your style and needs well. If you’re wondering about the other perks a side skirt does, it actually makes your car appear lower to the ground without spending a great deal of cash for an expensive suspension system. There are side skirts that will go a long, long way toward bringing a great look to your car. You can surely notice the difference in an instant.

7. Underbelly

Underbelly used for race cars is often flat and smooth to minimize the drag and lessen the turbulence beneath the vehicle. Coupled with the diffuser, the low air pressure underneath the car could make a great down force.

8. Diffuser

Diffusers are a shaped part of the vehicle’s underbody that enhances the aerodynamic elements by boosting the transition between the slower free stream airflow of the ambient atmosphere and the high-velocity airflow beneath the car.

9. Spoiler

Don’t confuse a spoiler with a rear wing. Spoilers that are used on race cars can avoid lift by putting an obstruction in the path of a lift-producing airflow. This enables the air’s part to change so the airflow at the car’s rear could leave in an upward o horizontal way, avoiding the generation of lift. A rather similar feature could be seen when you are on a passenger plane which is landing. The flaps on the wings (spoilers) lift lessen the lift and produce a drag, which both assist in slowing down the plane.

It’ basically an automotive aerodynamic component whose design is mainly geared towards the “spoiling” of the unideal air movement across the moving vehicle’s body, usually called drag or turbulence. Spoilers found on the front part of a vehicle are also known as air drams.

10. Rear Wing

Wings (just like on planes) are airfoil. However, they’re made to readily deflect the airflow upwards, pushing down on the car or any vehicle. Airflow which interacts with the wing is being forced up, forcing down the vehicle. Nevertheless, the advantages of a down force could leave the additional drag at the back seat.

Around 1/3 of the vehicle’s total down force could be from the arrangement of the rear wing. The rear wings are the ones which are the most varied.

These are some of the vital aerodynamic features of race cars. There could be more, but these are just the most fundamental ones. You could read further some materials if you want to have a greater understanding of how each feature works. Once you can grasp the whole thing, you can surely do better in your car racing career.

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