To think the body of a car can adapt to the surrounding environment like the eyes of an owl would’ve been considered outrages more than 50 years ago.
However, nowadays if a supercar doesn’t come with a retractable spoiler, it may be considered sacrilegious. Seeing as the Porsche 959 is deemed to be the first road car to feature active aero, you would think that after 35 years the level of aerodynamic wizardry would’ve grown exponentially. And you would be correct as even the most boring cars, i.e the Toyota Prius, comes with an adaptable grille.
To see how various companies have implemented this ingenious concept scroll down and have a look at some examples that you may have never heard of.
Gordon Murray T50
The Gordon Murray T50 is the actual spiritual successor to the McLaren F1. McLaren doesn’t want you to know this even though every element of the car is a modern interpretation of the original F1. Take a quick glimpse of the rear and you would be confused to see an industry grade extractor fan sticking out.
A rear wing as mentioned pushes a vehicle to the ground at very high straight line speeds. But what if you want to maintain those speeds around a corner? In comes the Zenvo TSR-S. The road legal counterpart to the TSR, which is the track only counterpart of the TS1, the successor to the controversial ST1.
Aside from a new engine, the changes are nothing more than an anagram of the TS1 name. Going back to the topic, the TSR-S’ dancing wing is more than just a gimmick. Being able to rotate with 2 degrees of freedom, the Zenvo was able to hold its own round fast bends.
The Pagani Zonda was a jaw dropping monument in itself, adopting the wedge shaped silhouette of the old Diablos. But the Huayra was developed to show that Pagani was more than just a glorified Italian coachbuilder. A set of four flaps allowed the Pagani to work with the wind using data from the ECU. Seeing the flaps work its magic is a true manifestation of the level of engineering gone into this monumental piece of machinary.
McLaren MP12 -C
Remember when McLaren came back from the dead with a bright orange car? The so called MP4-12C was pitted against one of the most beautiful cars to come out of Modena, the 458 Italia. Was it better? In terms of daily usability, the car was king. With good visibility as well as returning an average of 24mpg, the first Super Sport series candidate was setting a new norm for all the supercars to come.
For the MP-12C, later shortened to 12C, to wear the infamous McLaren badge, having a carbon monocoque wouldn’t be enough. Hence, a dedicated DRS system was fitted to complement the rear buttresses. Just like in the Veyron, the aero foil was able to rapidly adapt with the speed of the car, tilting nearly ninety degrees to aid harsh braking.
Aston Martin DB11
Some may argue that the DB11 is more of a very rapid GT car rather than a supercar. But with an engine note that screams the ear drums off Bond villains, it is difficult to put the car into a tame category.
Look carefully at the tip of the DB11’s boot and you’ll see a slot that curves around the length of the tailgate. How can this even qualify as an active wing? Well, the science behind it is nearly as clever as some of 007‘s gizmos. To put it simply, air is captured by a duct near the rear window and shot up throught the slots mentioned earlier to fashion a virtual spoiler. Fancy.
Lamborghini Huracan Performante
The Huracan Performante is very similar to the Mercedes AMG GTR in the sense that they are both hardcore variants of the ‘standard’ models but also very similar in terms of how they both have dynamic internals within their fixed aero accessories. With the Performante, Lamborghini has named the system Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA). The sophisticated tech channels air within both the front splitter and wing to allow the car to adapt to changing conditions.
Audi A3 Clubsport Quattro
To understand the VAG group’s obsession with active aero, a quick glance at the Audi A3 Clubsport Quattro will show just how vibrant the designers heads are. A 4 door small sedan with an air brake? Obviously such features are difficult to justify in a mass produced car. Hence, the Clubsport Quatto unfortunately remained a concept.
Mk4 Toyota Supra
Not many will know that the mk4 Toyota Supra actually came with an active front lip. It must’ve been a very expensive option seeing that it is very rare. Many of those who chose to either boost or increase boost of their Supras most likely removed the active lip due to the mechanical components hindering the placement of a front mount intercooler.
Launched in 1988, the Corrado may be considered to be the successor to the first generation Scirocco, even though its production started three years prior to the end of the Sciroccos’ life cycle. The Corrado is the second car in history to use active aero, after the mighty 959, and perhaps the first mass produced sports car to feature this technology. The liftback design paired with the VR6 engine makes this a solid future classic as well.
Arduino Active Aero
To finish on a humorous note, the last vehicle to feature active aero is not an actual car. In fact, it can be any car. With modern silicon chip technology becoming excessively abundant, the birth of Arduino should be no surprise. This compact microcontroller lets you program everything from your own fingerprint protected fridge to, you guessed it, active aero. Have a watch of this video and you’ll understand and maybe implement this on your own daily wagon.
The US Government is selling off some surplus military trucks which you should totally buy.
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