When a car clocks a really quick lap time around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, it will have done so with more than just brute force. Aerodynamics innovations play an increasingly pivotal role in on-circuit performance, and here the Lamborghini Huracan Performante employs active aerodynamics.
The active elements described here pertain to the front spoiler and the rear wing, which are interesting in that relatively small moving elements are employed to redirect and influence airflow around the larger aerofoil structure, instead of moving the main aerofoil element itself.
For the front spoiler in particular, the maximum downforce setting is configured by closing the flap in the middle of the aerofoil’s section, thus providing the maximum surface area for downforce. Just as aircraft wings are set up as such for maximum lift during takeoff and landing, the same principle works in exact opposite for keeping a car planted unto the road surface with greater downforce.
In minimum drag configuration, the flap opens for a bypass through the middle of the spoiler, creating a smaller effective wing area for less drag. This gives the Huracan Performante the benefits of two spoilers in one, without using movable components on the exterior.
Moving towards the rear wing, a similar method is applied here as with the front spoiler, where airflow around the rear wing is altered without actually moving the wing itself. According to the graphic, maximum downforce mode applies when the rear wing is used traditionally, as in with the full surface area of the aerofoil employed.
Altering the rear airflow appears to be managed by a throttle-style valve, and when the valve opens, a second channel of air comes into play and is also directed at the main rear wing element, in effect ‘stalling’ the rear wing for less airflow along the latter part of the wing’s airflow underneath and therefore, less drag with less downforce.
In principle, this is similar to the stalled rear wing setup (blown rear wing, or F-Duct) that was introduced into F1 cars of the 2010 season, notably the McLaren MP4-25 racer of that year, which allowed cars to reduce drag on long straights without falling foul of regulations which disallow movable aero devices – they “must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car,” according to FIA regulations.
In total, there are four such mechanisms on the Huracan Performante – a left and right pairing each for the front and rear. In a given corner on a circuit, this means greater downforce on the inside wheels for improved traction, translating into better cornering speed with less steering angle than is otherwise possible without ALA (Aereodinamica Lamborghini Attiva) in place, according to Lamborghini.
GALLERY: Lamborghini Huracan Performante