10 Surefire Ways to Lower Drag

by Don Terrill - www.RacingSecrets.com ©2003
1.) Wheel Alignment – Don’t think it’s that big a deal? Tell that to the Soap Box Derby racers. They go to great lengths to make sure their tires roll without any unnecessary drag.

2.) Inflate Tires – Most racers would find, if they tested it, they would go faster with more tire pressure. I say, just keep inflating the tires until the car slows down. Try it. I think you’ll be surprised how high you can go.

3.) Choose an Aerodynamic Car – Why fight it? If you can choose any car you want, why choose a ’57 Chevy when you could choose a late model Firebird?

4.) Stop Air from Going Under Car – There’s two ways to accomplish this, lower the car and/or the use of a front spoiler. It is aerodynamically possible to get a car too low, but 90% of racecars don’t have this problem and could benefit from lowering.

5.) Limit and Release Air from Engine Compartment – Think about the amount of air that goes through the radiator and how much drag is associated with it exiting the engine compartment. The quickest fix is to limit the amount of air entering the grill – have you heard of 200mph tape?

6.) Smooth Undercarriage – For air that does go under the car, it’s best to give it a smooth path to exit the rear of the car. The use of a belly pan is the preferred method. They can be made from plastic or aluminum sheets. Watch the exhaust if you use plastic.

7.) Lower/Remove Rear Spoiler – Most race cars that have a rear spoiler, have it there because it helps them go faster, but there are still many car owners that have no idea if their spoiler is helping or hurting – test it and find out.

8.) Harder/Stiffer Tires – The harder the compound and the stiffer the sidewall of the tire, the less the drag. Now, there’s obviously a trade off between traction and drag, but as I’ve said before, test it!

9.) Synthetic Oils and Greases – This is something you don’t need to test, if you switch over every lubricant in your car to synthetic, you’re going to go faster – no question. Your engine, trans, rear-end and wheel bearings will thank you.

10.) Less Steering Movement – There are three penalties for unnecessary steering movement: (1) You’re taking the long way around/down the track. (2) Increased tire friction. (3) Power used to lift the front end – every time you time turn the wheels, the front end is actually lifted, search the web for articles on caster to learn more.

* Article by DON TERRILL of RacingSecrets.com. Don is a three time pole winning winston cup engine builder. Visit http://RacingSecrets.com for more "how-to" on Racing. Don't have time to visit the site? Subscribe to their Free, monthly newsletter: