Speed Week 2021: the top 5 wings
It’s not just those old jumbo jets lying around the TG Test Track that sport massive wings…
Porsche 911 GT3 (992)
Porsche is no stranger to great wings, with its sports cars of time gone by wearing all manner of animal-inspired duck tails and whale tails. Not one to miss out on a fancy-dress party, the latest-generation 911 GT3 arrived at Speed Week with its own glorious rear wing, that impossible-to-miss, four-way manually adjustable ‘swan neck’.
Designed to improve airflow across the underside of the wing and coupled with a large rear diffuser and other aero improvements, Porsche claims it helps the new GT3 create 50 per cent more downforce than its predecessor. Little surprise to learn that it’s closely related to the track-only GT3 Cup, either – heck, it’s a wonder that this thing is road legal, really.Advertisement - Page continues below
Witnessing the TSR-S fly around Dunsfold was as mesmerising as it was ear-splitting, largely thanks to its “active multi-axis Centripetal Wing”. Try saying that after a few drinks. Under braking it acts as an airbrake, meaning on approach to Hammerhead, for example, it tilts upwards, helping slow you down before you sling it full pelt towards Follow Through.
At which point, the wing shows off its second party trick, leaning up to 20 degrees right (into a left-hander) or left (into a right-hander), helping to stabilise the car. There’s much science behind it, most of which we don’t understand, but think of it this way – it is, in effect, an aerodynamic anti-roll bar. Keen to know more? Click these blue words…
McLaren 720S GT3X
McLaren’s GT3X is neither a road car nor a racecar. It is instead a track-only toy, a 720S GT3 that’s been allowed to roam free of race regulations. But what, we hear you ask, is it good for when it’s sat at home, unable to play with its, er, more road-legal cousins? Enter the genius of its ginormous, and, allow us to suggest, multi-purpose rear wing.
We’re thinking… hanging wet socks from. Sadly, McLaren wouldn’t let us do that at a sodden Dunsfold. Or, perhaps, a cameraman’s perch? Nope, McLaren wouldn’t let us do that either. But they would let Ollie Marriage loose around Dunsfold, followed – tentatively – by The Stig, to have a go at setting a lap time. Find out how quick it went here.Advertisement - Page continues below
Lamborghini Huracán STO
Chris Harris’ favourite car of Speed Week? Enter the Lamborghini Huracán STO. It is, essentially, a Performante minus the front-wheel-drive gubbins (saving 43kg), that’s been further honed for on-track ability. There’s rear-wheel steering, that shark-like central fin, and, of course, that simply magnificent three-way wing adorning the rear end of the car.
It is, of course, part of a number of aero upgrades that includes all manner of ducts, slats, vents and channels. The result, Lambo says, is downforce up 53 per cent compared to the Performante. And while we don’t have the testing facilities to prove such metrics, we do know that it helped make light work of Dunsfold. Which is the next best thing.
Prodrive BRX Hunter
One word and one word only describes the Prodrive BRX Hunter: bonkers. And fittingly, it has a bonkers rear wing attached to it too. Not many cars have tackled Dunsfold with the intention of ending up on the grass, but the BRX Hunter lived for it. With aspirational aims to conquer the Dakar, the world’s toughest race, the TG circuit was more child’s play.
But back to that rear wing. “It’s not about downforce,” said Prodrive’s David Lapworth in an interview with TG’s Ollie Marriage, “as we have a limited top speed of 180kmh [112mph]. But high-speed stability is important and the wing improves that and allows us to make the car sharper and pointier at lower speeds.” Would look a little naked without it too, we’d say.