C6 Corvette Aerodynamics Enhance Safety

When a Corvette can be driven (not necessarily legally) right out of the showroom and onto a highway at speeds over 180mph, the engineers and designers had better have given every thought to safety! And Corvette designers did!.

One of the amazing aspects of the C6 Corvette is in its anti-flight design.  Chief designer Tom Peters has been quoted as saying, “We looked to inspiration from modern jet fighters. The side profile brings to mind the silhouette of an F22 Raptor – angular and aggressive, but with just the right amount of curves.”  But it doesn’t just look like it could fly! In many ways, if the C6 had wings, it could fly!

 

Thanks to more than 400 hours in the wind tunnel, the shape of the exterior has been optimized for a drag coefficient of .28. It’s an impressively low number, and even more so when you consider the C6 has a larger engine with greater cooling needs; shorter front and rear overhangs; an overall length that is 5.1 inches shorter; and has wider rear tires, all of which conspire to make reducing drag difficult.

With a targeted top speed of 180 mph, reducing lift and increasing stability was a critical job in the car’s development. That’s where the aero experience gained from Corvette Racing’s C5-R championship-winning efforts paid huge dividends. With C5-R basically an extension of the “street” car, its race and product development teams communicated constantly, and knowledge gained in one program often crossed over into the other. Aero work, thermal analysis, and tire development were among the most fertile areas of transfer between these two “worlds” of Corvette

With this low coefficient of drag, the C6 is the most aerodynamically efficient Corvette ever and has improved anti-lift characteristics that enable improved high-speed stability and confidence.  As has been said, anti-lift characteristics are critical because, without them, if this car had wings, it could fly!

To keep the vehicle on the ground, airplane wing design was applied at the front of the vehicle.  Since airplane wings are designed to provide lift, the airplane wing shape was reversed to provide downward force. In addition, the functional spoiler on the rear deck also adds downforce.

This vehicle is a dream to drive at any speed!

[ NCM Article ]

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