• Aug 13, 2009
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]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Aweeesome!!!!!! Down Force for the win.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just because the wing is strong, doesn't mean that the support mounts, or the bodywork the wing is bolted to is strong enough to hold that much concentrated weight... but good luck with that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Totally agree. I have a hunch that if you removed that spoiler there would be two indentations where the spoiler mounts to the trunk lid.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If the wing helps the car get 1000lbs of downforce at 150 mph, it had darn well better be able to hold a 200 lb man! Although the man is more of a point load than the distributed load that the air would produce, I would imagine that there is enough safety factor built into it that the wing (and mounts) to easily support his weight.

        Can you imagine the castastrophe that would ensue if that thing snapped off at ~200mph during 'Ring testing?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Viper produces more downforce on those 2 mounts at 100mph than that guy could possibly weigh.

        I wouldn't be too worried about it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If the wing provides 1,000lbs of downforce or a portion thereof the supports and body are probably capable of supporting an individual much larger than the one shown above.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They said that the car generates 1000lbs of downforce... not that the wing does. The wing only provides a fraction of that.

        Plus the weight of that man is leveraged on the end of that wing, magnifying his weight slightly on the near support, and could be levering upward on the offside mount.

        Plus those supports are meant to evenly support the downforce of the wing, uniformly, not just all on one side. Not to mention individual fasteners that are meant to share loads, also.

        Maybe it works, but it still seems foolish to me, and not guaranteed to be safe, or to not damage the car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why wasn't this group of chrysler engineers consulted when they were building the Challenger, and other cars in Chrysler's portfolio.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe because the other cars don't cost $80,000, although I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with the Challenger. (Yes, I agree it would be nice if it could lose weight)
        • 5 Years Ago
        ?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lose weight by dropping that roof. :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      nice McLarens work if im not wrong
      • 5 Years Ago
      Simple engineering. People are often surprised to see that airplanes are tested by suspending them from their wings.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wing failure mode testing is pretty interesting. I've seen some like that at EDO (they're a customer), and watching (and hearing) CF or composites fail is something. It sounds like a rifle shot... in a tiny cave.

        Here's a composite wing failing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA9Kato1CxA

        An old 777 test video shows the wingtips almost touching above the centerline of the fuselage (like it's doing a jumping jack)
      • 5 Years Ago
      And it is a nice place to hang your laundry to dry! (though not quite as nifty as the Super Bird)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Didn't Chrysler have shots of people standing on the Superbird/Daytona wing?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good to know!! So next time I have to step over one, I do not have to worry about breaking it. : )
      • 5 Years Ago
      Try getting some fat guy on that wing then see what will happen.
      Big Al
      • 5 Years Ago
      PS - The Mercedes flip that is referenced was at LeMans, France... Not the Petit LeMans in GA. There was a Porsche that flipped for the same reasons at the Petit LeMans, though.
      ;-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you guys would click the dang article link, they say the rear wing provides about 60% of that 1000lbs. of downforce, while the front splitter takes up the other 40%.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Photoshop.. fake - you can tell the shadows aren't at the right angles.. haha, jk.
      And, Big Al, nice correction on the Porsche @ Petit LeMans vs. Mercedes @ LeMans, Fr. ;-)
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