Ever noticed those huge rear wings on racecars? Spoilers are for more than just show. We’ve put together a post explaining some of the aerodynamic qualities of modern cars that give them improved control and performance.
According to Physics Online, the purpose of a spoiler is to use the flow of air around the vehicle to push down on the car. When quick vehicles begin exceeding certain speeds, the car’s shape and natural tendencies make it want to lift off of the ground. Think of an airplane wing: though it is made to cut through air, it also develops lift. To counteract this, a spoiler pushes airflow down, keeping the car on the ground.
Although it might sound counterintuitive to create more drag on a quick car, spoilers actually increase handling and performance. By adding downforce, tires stick to the road better. This means that the wheels spin less, catching on the road and propelling the vehicle forward. It also means that steering is easier and more responsive.
What’s the best thing about a spoiler? It is more productive the faster you go. At low speeds, the spoiler doesn’t do much; however, as you speed up, the increased air flow adds traction. It is, in essence, a self-regulating part. Some models even have a motor to deploy a spoiler when you’re going fast.