Aerodynamics and Racecars

In simple terms, aerodynamics has something to do with the shape of an object affecting the flow of air to generate force. Basically, this is the reason why car or other forms of locomotion are formed and shaped as they are. Aside from aesthetic reasons, the contours of a car’s body are designed to promote better performance.

So this is why racecars are especially more elaborated and fluid in design than conventional cars. Each curve in its body has specific functions in relation to the flow of air as the car speeds up.

The flow of air surrounding a car can affect its performance. Shaping a car’s body so that the car can pass through the air with minimum amount of resistance, at the same time that air flow pushes the car unto the ground for stability, is the goal of racecar aerodynamics.

Car Aerodynamics

A stock car’s body creates lift once it encounters strong forces of flowing air. A typical example is when a high speeding trailer truck overtakes you on the highway, your car seems to be lifted up by the airflow created by the trailer that’s why it rocks on its sides.

With this in mind, engineers came up with accessories for stock cars to be attached to their bodies that will create a downforce when confronted with a rush of airflow. This is why body kits came into production. All the components included in the kit have something to contribute to aerodynamics.

Have you noticed that front bumpers that come with the body kits are extended way down to the ground with only few inches left? The purpose of this design is to prevent air from going down into the engine area and create resistance.

But this wasn’t enough to prevent air from going beneath the cars during high-speed runs. Side skirts and rear spoilers are added to the extended front bumper to complete an artificial vacuum setup to keep the car as close to the ground as possible. All these components were designed to keep air out from under the car’s chassis and improve handling.

There is just one issue regarding the body kits- the rear bumper. If the purpose of all three components: front bumper, side skirts, and spoiler, is to create a vacuum to get all the air out from beneath the car, then attaching an extended rear bumper will just trap the air under the car. The rear portion of the car should be high enough and not covered to such extent like the extended front bumpers.

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