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June 08, 2018
Hero Image Credit: carina-e.com
Aerodynamic modifications to your car, or ‘ground effects’ as they are commonly called, are done to help your car perform better and look hotter. The problem with some body kit mods is that they only achieve the latter, leaving the aerodynamic characteristics of your car in poorer shape than they were straight from the factory. In this article, we discuss some key points worthy of your consideration when you are planning to install a body kit to improve performance. It’s not just racecar drivers who benefit from learning about ground effects and their impact on aerodynamics, fuel economy, handling and body life. Car lovers in general should educate themselves too.
For those drivers lucky enough to race competitively, a regular topic of conversation in these circles is aerodynamics. The great thing is, it’s not just racecars that can benefit from aerodynamic modifications. The greater the downforce and the smaller the wind resistance, the more effectively your car will glide through the air and grip to the road. The aerodynamic qualities of your car determine the car’s downforce, which is also known as ‘downwards thrust’. Increase the downforce and you will increase your car’s ability to move faster when cornering by making the vertical force of the tyres greater. This in turn creates more grip and better handling. Any change to your car’s shape will impact on its performance for both speed and handling. Plan these modifications carefully with a trusted professional in order to ensure your desired outcome is achieved.
Cars that are held back by poor aerodynamic qualities work harder than they need to and use more fuel. Unfortunately, cars need fuel to run and this is an ongoing expense. We’ve never met any car lover who enjoys paying for fuel, but if you love driving you accept this is a non-negotiable part of the deal. A great way to lower your fuel consumption, and therefore your weekly fuel spend, is to reduce the drag on your car. This will improve handing but also assist your car to use less fuel. An aerodynamic mod can really influence this and save you a tonne of money. This kind of mod may even pay for itself over time.
Image Credit: prospeedracing.com.au
We’ve spoken a little bit about handing already but let’s go into a little more detail. It’s easy to recognize a high performance car by the way it feels on the road. As we mentioned earlier, greater downforce and improved aerodynamics improve handing and can make it feel like your car is one with the road. Driven a car before that looked great but when you got moving it started shaking at higher speeds? This was most likely a result of poor aerodynamics, wind resistance and drag. A high quality body kit can redirect wind to the left and right of the car rather than above or underneath. With increased downforce as a result, a high performance car will slice through the gusts of wind that can hold you back around corners and at high speeds.
A body kit should increase the style and performance of your vehicle. Many people don’t realise this, but a body kit can also preserve your original bodywork and protect it from unwanted damage at the same time. A healthy car body is more aerodynamic, nicer to look at and easier to sell down the track if needed.
Spoilers come in many shapes and forms, with their primary focus being to increase the downforce of your vehicle. In racing in particular, high performance cars are modified to the point they are so powerful but also so light that they can tend to want to lift up off the ground at high speeds. A carefully selected spoiler will counteract this and help the car to stick like glue to the road. Front spoilers are installed under the front bumper with the purpose of reducing the risk of the car lifting from the front. Rear spoilers or rear wings help combat the lift of the vehicle’s back end. Some more modern cars (e.g. Audi TT) even have them installed from the factory (i.e. active spoilers which can be raised and lowered depending on the circumstances of the road). An alternative to a spoiler is a side skirt. These make the car look like it has been lowered and assist in redirecting wind away from under the car and reducing lift.
Image Credit: japantunedparts.com
Bear in mind that when installing a body kit are you doing it for performance, style or both? Many body kits available have not been tested aerodynamically and although might make your car look cooler, performance and handling may be no better. In some instances, performance and handling may even be decreased. In many cases at legal speeds, no difference in aerodynamic performance can even be felt, so it pays to seek advice and be clear on what you are trying to achieve. The only way to be sure about your modification’s impact on aerodynamics is to ensure it has been tested and comes from a trusted supplier. Materials for body kits can include carbon fibre, polyurethane and fibreglass. For other materials, seek the advice of a body shop expert. Carbon fibre is very popular because it is light, but it is also more pricey. Whichever material you select, make sure it can have paint applied. Be careful with choices made relating to style. The kit should suit the look of the car, but if the kit is so drastically different, chances are it’s going to have an undesired effect on your car’s performance too. In saying that, some of the most outrageous kits sometimes produce great aerodynamic results as well.
Contact us at AusBody Works today and we’ll assist you to make the right choices for your car. We are Australia’s No. 1 online store for locally made and imported body kits. We make it our business to provide our customers with high quality, stylish, yet affordable ABS & polyurethane body kits imported into Australia. If you’re after style or performance or both, our experts will make it their priority to find the body kit that’s right for you and your budget.