The shape of all these cars is incredibly important – they’re designed to move as smoothly as possible through the air. Sticky out bits causes friction and can slow you down.
But if you are too aerodynamic and travelling at very high speeds this can get furry when you talk about handling and control – this lessens.
The Toyota Racing Series have back wings (and sometimes wings off the nose cone) that can be adjusted. They help with the down force applied to the car. But its a very fine line to get it just right. Wings flat, mean you go very fast on the straights but not good for cornering, wings tilted create the opposite effect.
The aerodynamic control have to be tempered with the mechanical controls as well – steering, shocks amongst a miriad of other things.
I’m finding that its not just about pure mechanics – there’s the chemistry of the fuel mixes, the chemistry behind what some of these cars are partially made of (like carbon fibre).
But physics really sneaks in too. The Toyota Racing Series with their wings create havoc with the fluid air so if you follow too close behind one you loose some of your down force and therefore control. I was told it’s kind of like a plane hitting an airpocket.
But in the Formula Fords where the cars have no wings, there is benefit in following close because of slipstreams.