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I'm trying to figure out why a drag race car uses a different rear wing than say a road or circle track car. What brought this to my attention was the Lexus ISF crash that happened recently which the car had a road course style air foil instead of the typical style wing in which is common for drag cars.

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Guys going over 150 aren't that much smarter than you and me-they just spend more of their wife's money on their cars. They still buy parts for the same reason stated above. Or was that a poke because Ive only been 148? Haha! But seriously, I wonder if the mustang/X275 community has done an aero-comparo like the one done in the Wind Tunnel forum here? Basically those little horizontal wings off the hatch just lengthen the car, but I don't know what that actually does for downforce. I'm thinking that perhaps it has more to do with reducing drag, in theory anyway. I'm curious too, so I will look around and see if I can find any info, too. I'm at the beach wishing I was in the garage, anyway.

Edited by RebekahsZ

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That article made a point that makes sense to me, in that drag reduction is more important in higher speed events like drag racing and land speed events.  Wings that give more downforce are favored in road racing where speed through turns gains more advantage than straight line speed.

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In my opinion drag cars are LOL when it comes to aero, just looking at them in motion and it's obvious that air is getting under them and lifting the whole car which by any measure is costing them speed, let alone stability. I'm of course talking about production type drag cars whereas us circuit blokes learnt a long ago we needed good aero to go faster, in a straight line or whatever. Sorry if I've offended anyone but most drag racers strike me as being engine obsessed to the exclusion of all else.

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No offense taken, but you are hanging out at the wrong dragstrips and concentrating your thoughts on the lower level cars. Take a look at modern funny cars and you will change your tune. However, drag racers have a lot more to consider than folks think. Often, the race is won or lost in the first 0.001 seconds of the race when the car is almost standing still. Not much speed to generate aero forces at that point. It is also because of aero concerns that the fast cars use 4-link suspensions with adjustments to keep the car down-the car that hoists the nose usually looses and often has lots of repairs to do when they get their broken stuff home. Drag racers do care about aero, but it is lower on the priority list for understandable reasons. Don't think I'm hot because of the long answer, I always write long posts. I still think that most racers use that wing for looks, same reason why most ricers slam their cars on the pavement. I sure as heck care whether my car looks cool, don't you?

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If you're running 200mph with x hp you have good aero.  The other guy doing 200 might have twice the power.  In drag racing as with most stuff all things are relative.  The reason most street type cars go down the quarter mile gobbling air from underneath is because the center of gravity they require to get enough weight to transfer.  In other words a compromise, loose 3-4 mph up top, or 2-3 tenths due to lost traction... no contest.  As for the picture drag car wing it has much more to due with getting all that air out from under the car than it does actually loading the tires with "downforce".  Less lift is better, even if it still has a lot (in road race terms). 

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The other aspect to consider is drag and required downforce at required speed. 

The drag style wing produces less downforce but improves cd and stability. The drag wing has more consistent performance over a broad range of speeds.

The 3d style big-wing produces more downforce as speed increases but also has more drag as speed increases. The wing was designed to work best at a certain speed; and it is tuned to work best at certain parts of the roadrace track.

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What bjh ^said ^ although I don't know what a 3d wing is. Done properly there would be a lot in working out when more downforce is needed and which wing profile would deliver that downforce at the lowest drag. Hmmmm, there might be a bit to this drag racing thing other than an engine :)

 

As well the location of the wing is important, the further back the more downforce on the rear wheels but if the wing is mounted behind the rear wheels then leverage starts applying a tendency to lift the front. 

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