Fast cars have wings right?

Aero upgrades, make your car look fast, because we’re used to seeing them on fast cars in movies. But what do they actually do? If you are new to racing, it can be tricky to understand, and can actually make you slower. Aero upgrades can steal or improve your lap times with several seconds but you need to know where to use them. To understand aero settings, we’ll need to get a few important aspects in place. Aero upgrades (in forza) use the air traveling over your car, mainly to improve the down force of the car. Down force is the force the car presses on to the road, and thereby improves grip and handling. So by increasing aero, you will be increasing the “weight” of the car thereby giving it more grip, especially on corners.

The downside of increased aero, and the reason why you don’t want to always have this on max, is that you will be sacrificing top speed on straights, where grip is less important, because of the “drag” that the aero generates. Basically, aero wings, work as an aircraft wing, turned upside down and therefore generate downforce (weight) instead of lift.. You can adjust the amount of downforce generated by the aero, by adjusting the angle it is set. The steeper angle it is set to, the more down force it will generate. At the same time though, it will also generate more drag and resistance, the more aggressive you set it.

The Pros of increased aero

  • Better grip on long sweeping corners.
  • Better braking
  • Maintain faster speed out of wide corners

The cons of increased Aero

  • Limits your top speed
  • Has no effect if you are not going fast
  • Adds weight to the car

 

 

As we explained in the beginning, aero uses the air passing over your car, to generate downforce. The less air that passes over your car, the less effective it will be. This means that for very slow and intricate tracks or sections of the track, aero will most likely not give you much advantage. This is why you will notice, that especially F1 rear wings look very different, on SPA in Belgium, than they do on Monza. These are two extreme tracks, where SPA is mainly a track with long sweeping corners, where downforce is important to maintain the hight speed. Monza on the other hand, is a very tight and intricate track with only a couple sections where the cars may actually benefit from increased downforce.

schoolThis means that the most important aspect that you need to consider, when deciding on whether or not to upgrade the aero of your car, is the track you’ll be driving, and your driving style. If you upgrade the aero, you’ll be sacrificing top speeds in the straights, but gain speeds on sweeping turns. You will gain nothing on tight corners though. What you need to figure out is, whether or not the gained speed on the corners (and the higher exit speed this give you) can even out the loss of speed on the straights. A perfect example of this, is the Catalunya School track. This is entirely made of long sweeping corners, and no straights. Here you’ll really gain an advantage by adding aero.

 

On the other hand, Monza Short, is basically made of two long straights,  a sweeping corner, and a few tight corners. If you have too much aero there, you’ll be sacrificing too much speed on the straights, only to retain faster speeds on one corner (the tighter section, you’ll probably be going too slow for the aero to have much effect). You’d be better off upgrading some acceleration, to compensate for the slightly lower corner exits.

You will also need to consider what race your are tuning for. Increased aero will often increase the wear of the tires. If you are tuning for a fast lap challenge, you can ignore this (or any tire wear concern really), but for longer races, and especially endurance races, you may want to experiment and adjust accordingly to prevent your tires from wearing too fast.

To cap up on this, aero will only make your car able to go faster at very specific corners, and specific areas of the track. It will not necessarily give you better lap times. On the other hand, the increased drag, and the added weight of the upgrades themselves, will slow you down. You’ll need to choose wisely, depending on the track you will be racing.

TIP: For most cars, adding aero, will decrease the Performance Index (PI) value of the car. If you are tuning to a specific value or class, you might want to experiment by adding aero, to lower the PI, but set the aero value to the lowest possible settings. This way you might be able to afford upgrades that increase power or other features you’d like to improve, that otherwise would exceed the PI value you were aiming for

 

 

Check the video, to see an aero test we did on Monza Short with the Acura RSX R. This must be the car on Forza, with the most aero options available! The driving in the video is pretty bad, and i accidentally braked a bit too early on the first run, because i have recently turned off the braking line assist. Still, i think it’s interesting to see to top speed on the first straight, the speed and position of the car during the corner, and also the exit speed after the corner! Note that the first run, with no aero, was faster on the straight, slower on the corner, but accelerated to have the same speed at the first bridge, as the car with aero. I would estimate, that on this track, the gain of being able to take the corner faster with aero at maximum, is shadowed by the top speed, and acceleration of the car with no aero.

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About The Author

I've been hooked on racing games, ever since the Burnout series back in the late 90s and after going through some painful years trying to learn the F1 series games, i am now hooked on Forza. I am not the fastest on the track, and not a fanatic, but i enjoy sim racing a lot, and try to get better and faster.

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