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Definition

Downforce--the use of aerodynamics to create downward pressure on the car's tires to increase grip. By using the principles of lift, except "upside down," airflow over the car can be used to push the car down. This increases the load on the tires, which increases their grip, without adding weight to the car.

Downforce can be created by decreasing the relative drag of air passing under the car versus the air passing over and around it. On a production car, this can be done by adding an air dam to the front of the car and skirts on the side to reduce the gap between the body panels and the road surface. The reduction of turbulence under the car helps create a small vacuum which increases the overall downforce and generates high speed stability. The addition of a true wing on the rear of the car can also increase downforce. The height of the air dam and the angle and shape of the rear wing are used to balance the front and rear downforce to acheive neutral handling while cornering. While downforce is good for increasing cornering speeds, too much downforce can reduce a car's acceleration at high speeds.

The majority of stock and aftermarket wings contribute little to no downforce. An adjustable racing wing is needed.

Glossary of Terms

Below is a list of automotive and road racing terms. Click on any of the letters to go to the start of that section, click on the term to open a window with the definition.

Terms J - R

J K L M N O P Q R

J

terms coming soon

K

terms coming soon

L

loose (handling)

M

terms coming soon

N

terms coming soon

O

oversteer

P

psi and psig
push (handling)

Q

terms coming soon

R

reference points

Terms S - Z

S T U V W X Y Z

S

terms coming soon

T

tactile feedback
tight (handling)
trail braking
toe
turn-in point

U

understeer

V

terms coming soon

W

terms coming soon

X

terms coming soon

Y

terms coming soon

Z

terms coming soon

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