Do Canards Or Dive Planes Really Improve Aerodynamics?

August 10, 2023 by
Do Canards Or Dive Planes Really Improve Aerodynamics?
Eric Hazen

In the pursuit of lower track times and better aerodynamics, there are many components you might install on your vehicle. Splitters, diffusers, and rear wings are some of the most popular. The canard is one of the lesser-known performance parts that can be important in providing the right aerodynamic balance. Also known as dive planes, these components help control how air flows around your car. Take a moment to see how they work and how they may benefit you.

What Are Canards, And How Do They Impact Your Car's Performance?

Canard on driver side of Subaru BRZ.

A dive plane or canard like the one on this Subaru BRZ can help shift the aerodynamic balance forward.

As you may already know, finding the perfect aerodynamic balance on a car can be challenging. If you have a diffuser and rear wing matched up with a standard splitter, chances are you will need more front downforce to achieve proper balance. This problem is where canards -- or dive planes -- come in handy. Placed by the front of the wheels, these components can generate just enough downforce to shift the balance forward.

How Is Downforce Generated And Balance Shifted?

It might seem logical that the downforce is generated on the surfaces of dive planes, but that is only part of the story. It's true that the underside of the dive plane is lower pressure while the top is higher pressure, resulting in some downward force. But the real benefit is how these small, low-aspect wings control airflow around the car. 

A properly placed canard will allow vortices to form, which helps keep airflow attached to the vehicle. These vortices can help pull air out of the fender wells, which relieves pressure and sends airflow behind the tire. The result has air flowing down the car's sides, reducing lift (or improving downforce). 

Proper Design And Placement Are Critical

Dual-element dive planes on Ford Mustang Shelby GT350.

Proper placement is essential when implementing dive planes like the ones on this Ford Mustang Shelby GT350.

The location of your dive planes or canards is essential, so it's always smart to use performance parts that have been expertly designed, tested, and analyzed. Computational fluid dynamics is necessary for understanding how air flows around the vehicle and how it can be impacted.

While many materials can be used in their manufacturing, these parts should be composed of strong and resilient carbon fiber. To ensure your dive plane works with your other performance parts, try getting them as part of a complete aerodynamic package that includes a splitter, diffuser, wing, or other components. Depending on your exact make and model, dual dive planes may be recommended for better balance. 

Balance Out Your Vehicle’s Aerodynamics

Aerodynamic dive plane seen on the front of a Hyundai Veloster.

A dive plane, like the one on this Hyundai Veloster, will help balance out rear aerodynamics like diffusers and wings.

Your aggressive rear wing might look nice and perform well, but it could also reduce your aerodynamic balance. Dive planes or canards will help shift that balance forward so you stay flat. Think of a dive plane as a fine-tuning device to tweak aero balance forward by manipulating airflow down the sides of the car.

Of course, while their primary purpose is to boost performance, this distinctive, high-angled component will also add to the front-end aesthetics of your vehicle. 

Order Dive Planes From Verus Engineering

Find expertly designed dive planes specific to your vehicle from the performance parts experts at Verus Engineering. We've customized these aerodynamic components for various makes and models using the latest CFD software and on-track testing. We include specific templates to guide the installation to ensure proper placement and maximum performance. Order online today or contact us for additional information.

Do Canards Or Dive Planes Really Improve Aerodynamics?
Eric Hazen August 10, 2023
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