How Do Rear Wings For Cars Work?

January 30, 2024 by
How Do Rear Wings For Cars Work?
Eric Hazen

Few automotive upgrades have the visual impact of a rear wing. They make a bold, powerful statement, but there’s much more going on than cosmetic appeal. In fact, a properly designed rear wing can significantly improve downforce, a vital consideration when turning laps at high speeds. They’re also the perfect complement to an aggressive front end and will balance out your aerodynamic setup. Learn more about how rear wings for cars work and start planning your upgrade.

Rear Wings Work Like An Airplane Wing Turned Upside Down

Toyota Supra with aftermarket rear wing

Instead of generating lift like airplane wings, rear wings for cars are inverted and produce downforce.

You can think of a car’s wing (or airfoil) as an inverted airplane wing. While an airplane’s wing helps it lift off the ground, the car’s airfoil works in the opposite manner, pushing your vehicle down. This negative lift is better known as downforce, a sought-after quality, especially when cornering at high speeds. 

Pressure Differences Give You A Downforce Boost

Aftermarket rear wing on Subaru BRZ

A rear wing like this one on a Subaru BRZ can provide a big downforce boost.

A rear wing is only effective when air flows over its top and bottom surfaces at different speeds. 

A properly designed automotive wing will force air to flow faster along its bottom surface. By controlling airspeed, the wing produces a higher-pressure zone on top and a lower-pressure one below. The pressure difference is the primary factor in creating downforce. Some force is applied directly to the wing’s top surface, but the real benefit comes from forming two distinct pressure zones. 

A Rear Wing Is Not A Spoiler

A performance wing like this one on a Porsche Cayman 987.2 can improve grip and lower track times.

Even though the terms are often used interchangeably, a rear wing is not a spoiler. As the name suggests, a spoiler interrupts or spoils airflow from the roof and down the rear of the car. The spoiler breaks up airflow and slows it down to foster a higher pressure zone on top of the vehicle. A well-designed spoiler will virtually eliminate lift without adding drag, but it won’t necessarily generate downforce. That is where the rear wing comes in. 

How To Choose The Best Rear Wing

Proper design is critical for any aftermarket performance part. Before investing in a rear wing to lower track times and boost confidence, you might ask the following questions:

  • How was the wing engineered? Did it undergo an iterative design using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel testing?
  • Was it tested on track?
  • Is it designed specifically for your make and model? If not, how easy will it be to adapt to your car?
  • How is the aftermarket wing installed? Will it fit like an OEM part and blend with the car’s aesthetic?

Your best bet is to turn to experienced automotive engineers who can tell you how the part was designed and show you proof of how it boosts performance.

Find Expertly Designed Rear Wings From Verus Engineering

If you’re ready for a significant downforce boost, turn to the experts at Verus Engineering. Our rear wings will balance your aerodynamic setup, boosting your grip and confidence. Shop online to see what we have to offer, and let us know if you have questions on how to modify your vehicle. We carefully design parts for exceptional performance and an OEM-like fit.

How Do Rear Wings For Cars Work?
Eric Hazen January 30, 2024
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