Downforce can be described as the results of the aerodynamic
features fitted on a vehicle that improve traction especially when moving at
The wing is shaped in such a way that the top has more area for the wind to travel than the bottom and
the wing is attached to the body of the plane at an angle. When the plane moves through the air, the wind pushes
against the angled wing and creates an upward force which aids in lifting the plane and keeping it in the air.
This reverse of this concept is applied to vehicles. Exterior parts of the vehicle can be mounted and/or
shaped in an opposite angle to the plane wing allowing the wind to push the vehicle down as it moves through
This downward force increases the grip the tires have on the ground and allows you to corner at higher
speeds. You will have a greater control of your vehicle at higher speeds when you need it.
A common example will be the wings on a formula one car. The wings are made at certain angles which causes
the air to flow on top of the wing at a force and push the wing down and by extension the entire vehicle.
Some vehicles are manufactured with the aerodynamic features to create the down force and there are
modifications that you can do to your vehicle to create more downward force such as
Some of the features that give the downforce effect only work when the vehicle is moving forward. The angle would
be reversed when the vehicle is reversing which would create an upward force but people really don't reverse at
such speeds to cause that upward effect.
- The shape of the front bumper
- Side splitters
- Aerodynamic spoilers
It should also be noted that the downforce will increase as the vehicle moves faster. In fact there are vehicles
that benefit from over 100 kilograms of downforce when the vehicle is driving at speeds of about 100mph and over.
This is 100 kilograms of force and not 100 kilograms of weight, this force acts as weight to press the tires unto the
road but no extra weight is added for the engine and drivetrain to pull.
Several performance oriented vehicles have features to generate downforce. The Porsche Panamera, Audi TT and R8 have an adjustable
rear spoiler that is designed to be concealed into the body of their vehicle and it rises automatically at a pre determined speed
to generate downforce. These spoilers also retract at a pre determined speed.
The Cadillac CTS-V coupe has a brake light that also acts as a spoiler and the Bugatti Veyron also has
a hidden spoiler that rises to create downforce, this spoiler is also used to assist the vehicle during
braking by changing the angle.