It’s a controversial subject this one, but one that we’re going to stick our heads above the parapet for and get stuck in – we’re going out on a wing and a prayer here!
Porsche GT3 RS
Undeniably awesome in almost every way, the GT3s rear wing has become the stuff of forged alloy and carbon fibre perfection over the years. In 997 and 991 guise in particular it’s never looked more aggressive or pedestrian worrying. On the 991 4.0 RS the rear wing makes 220kg of down force, while the front spoilers, ducts and cannards also add a further 110kg to proceedings. Developed in a wind tunnel to maximise its efficiency this is a very serious piece of engineering. Made from forged ally and Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer, this is one spoiler that’s set to become the stuff of legend, much like the ’67 RS Ducktail we suspect.
Ford seem to have quite the illustrious history when it comes to in-your-face rear wings. The Mk3 Focus RS is no exception. Maybe it’s something to do with the Essex heritage and cruising through Dagenham and Ilford all of the time, but there’s no denying the Ford Engineers know how to pen a stylish down force producer. In association with a ‘drift’ mode as a traction control setting, there can be no doubt this particular Focus is hell bent on kicking RS.
Some might say that it’s the most iconic rear wing of all time?! The almost entirely rebodied Sierra Cossie that exists beneath it’s newer sibling had already set the precedent for awesome rear wings, so why not make things even bigger? The adage of go big or go home certainly applies to Ford. The first 2500 production cars were Group A WRC homologation specials. In adverts in for the car in 1992 Ford claimed that it was the only production car to produce positive downforce, although many deny this claim as the Ferrari F40 was in its final year of sale at that point. Unlike the RS500 rear wing, which was very effective, the Escort ‘whale tail’ is said to generate 20kg of down force at 70mph.
The two-piece upper and lower design of the Sierra Cosworth RS500 rear wing was said to be less compromised by stylists than the Escort Cossie version. Capable of producing 100kg of downforce at 100mph, the Sierra RS Cosworth was an attempt in 1983, from recently named Director of Ford Motorsport in Europe, Stuart Turner, to rebuild Ford’s reputation in rallying and circuit competitions. Even though it was the only two-wheel drive, it was the car the Boreham-based team selected to compete in the group A based 1987 Championship. They started from an XR4 for the design, which already incorporated a bi-plane rear wing (although the larger plane was located in the lower position), as per the original design that Heinz Ostendorf and his team had been refining after 75 days of wind tunnel testing.
With a 201mph top speed and a notoriously late 80s / early 90s turbocharged power delivery it was particularly important for the 471bhp F40 to remain planted on the floor. In Ferrari’s own words, the F40’s integral full-width rear wing “presented the ultimate eighties power statement”. That it looked the part was in no doubt, but it also helped to keep the F40 on the straight and narrow as that boost hit home and ensured clean underwear didn’t always remain so.
Did the 22B really need a massive rear wing? Probably not at 70mph, but at 150mph it certainly benefitted from some extra down force over the back axle. Arguably the most iconic and possibly the most desirable Scooby of the lot, the 22B is now a bona fide classic with residuals to match. Some might argue that the performance increase is only noticeable at speeds that you’ll hopefully never achieve on a road, while others disagree and say that they look cool and do a fine job of reducing lift and promoting grip at high speeds. Either way, the 22B looks awesome because of it, and you can’t argue with that sort of thinking.
The BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ just makes people smile, it’s as simple as that. The legendary rear wing was said to turn 30kg of rear axle lift into 60KG of downforce above 124mph, and many of your will remember seeing Hans Stuck literally flying a CSL around the Nurburgring back in ’75. The aerodynamic addenda on this car are as childish as the name suggests and that certainly appeals to the inner child in all of us. The L in the cars name stands for lightweight, and that it most certainly is compared to conventional steel bodied CSs. Weighing in at 1270kg it was some 200kg lighter than equivalent models and with a 203bhp and 215ft.lbs of torque it was also capable of 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds, quite the achievement for a production car in 1973.
The ‘wing cars’ of Chrysler included the Dodge Daytona and the Plymouth Superbird, both of which went on to be very successful within NASCAR and stock car championships. Some say that the reason the rear wing was so huge was to allow the boot to open cleanly, however John Pointer disagrees. Pointer was a rocket scientist who came over from Chrysler’s missile division and was asked to make the 1968 Dodge Charger “go faster.” To allow for stability at speeds around 200mph, Pointer apparently placed the spoiler so high to get it into, “clean air.” With a brief to solely make it faster, there was never any consideration given as to whether the boot opened or not.
Merc 190E Evo 2
Long before Mitsubishi stole the Evolution name, Mercedes were already producing as a homologation special for the DTM (German Touring car championship). This awesome rear wing is actually quite restrained compared to some of the other greatest hits here, but it dropped the drag co-efficient of this relatively boxy saloon to 0.29 while increasing down force to boot. The 190E was ultimately not very successful but the styling of the road car made it a suitable alternative to the all-conquering BMW E30 M3, that tended to dominate the race and rally stages.
Mitsubishi EVO Vortex generator
First seen on the production EVO 9, Vortex Generators aren’t just pretty little bits of plastic. When the airfoil or the car is in motion relative to the air, the VG creates a vortex, which, by removing some part of the slow-moving boundary layer in contact with the airfoil surface, delays local flow separation and aerodynamic stalling, thereby improving the effectiveness of wings and control surfaces. However they work, they look cool, and we quite like that. You’ll find the aftermarket has also gone nuts for similar EVO 5 onwards replica versions as well, so the EVO crowd clearly approve.