The elephantine rear airfoil bolted to the rear deck of the Dodge Viper ACR is not only highly functional, but it gets credit as being the first mass-produced carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) wing on a production car. Rear wings on high performance vehicles are designed to counter lift. Without aerodynamic aids, most vehicles become less stable and have reduced grip as velocities increase (worst case, the vehicle actually flies as did the Mercedes CLR at Le Mans in 1999).

Chrysler's SRT Performance Group was tasked with building a faster variant of the Dodge Viper with the ACR, yet cutting weight at the same time. The team did extensive studies of wing profiles before settling on a 72-inch wide wing manufactured out of CFRP. While most wings have a structural core or ribbing, the ACR's hollow wing is comprised of just four layers of epoxy/carbon fiber weave with an outer UV-resistant clearcoat.

The wing is amazingly strong (as evidenced by the picture at right), yet it weighs just 7.5 lbs, 50 to 80 percent less than an aluminum or thermoplastic counterpart. Working in conjunction with a variable-geometry front splitter and dive planes, the oversized rear wing helps the Viper ACR achieve its targeted 1,000 lbs of downforce at 150 mph. That's enough to help Dodge's supercar sustain a cornering load of 1.5 Gs at speed – superior to many GT racing cars.

[Source: Composites World]