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Help me understand the Z51 "spoing"

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  • Help me understand the Z51 "spoing"

    Or is that "wiler"? Either way, I'm taking about the hybrid aerodynamic device that comes standard on the Z51 package. It's aesthetics are undoubtedly controversial, and I was firmly on the "kill it with fire" camp. But it's grown on me somewhat over time, enough that I began to consider what it is about it that I don't like. The conclusion that I came up with is that I don't really understand the benefits of that particular design.

    A traditional wing allows air to pass under the aerodynamic plane, a spoiler diverts all air flow over it. The Z51 device seems to be a hybrid, allowing air to flow under the outer edges while the center mostly diverts air over. As a result the "wing" segments are smaller / less wide than you see in a normal wing, and look almost flimsy to me. And that's where my brain generally says, "No sir. I don't like it!"

    So the question becomes what are the benefits of that design? It doesn't provide any more downforce than the Stingray high wing, but has increased drag (which I'm assuming is largely from the spoiler section) that undoubtedly contributes to the Z51's lower top speed. So why did they go with that design?

    Anyone know?

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    Last edited by Budoist; 11-24-2021, 03:10 PM.

  • #2
    The short answer is most downforce (for a non-all-out car such as a Z06) with least drag. And mounted in a way to allow full trunk access.
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    • #3
      I'm guessing here but wings are more efficient at producing downforce vs the amount of drag. Perhaps the aerodynamics are better for a wing at the sides of the car but better for a spoiler at the center of the car.

      At first I didn't care much either way about the Z51 hybrid wing/spoiler but it has grown on me. I now prefer the Z51 spoiler over no spoiler or the low spoiler.
      Last edited by RKCRLR; 11-24-2021, 03:12 PM.
      2020 C8 Stingray Convertible - Torch Red - Natural Dipped 3LT - Z51 w/MSRC - Front Lift

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RKCRLR View Post
        I'm guessing here but wings are more efficient at producing downforce vs the amount of drag. Perhaps the aerodynamics are better for a wing at the sides of the car but better for a spoiler at the center of the car.

        At first I didn't care much either way about the Z51 hybrid wing/spoiler but it has grown on me. I now prefer the Z51 spoiler over no spoiler or the low spoiler.

        I agree and if you look at the picture above you'll see that the outside edges get fairly unimpeded airflow over the flat rear part of the car. The center gets more turbulent air having passed over the top of the car.

        Perhaps a spoiler deals with turbulent air better than a wing or a wing makes greater gains from smoother air hitting it? Hardly definitive and it could all just be a marketing decision.

        I don't love the look but it's better than the C7 wickers IMHO. My favorite so far is the Z06 base model that's been shown. I may in time replace the Z51 item with that.

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        • #5
          I'm guessing it came down to "form beats function" with this one. GM needed some exterior visual cue to set-apart the Z51 from the non-Z51 as most (all) of the other Z51 package stuff isn't obviously visible to the average punter. This design was probably the least negatively impact-full on performance at the time of design. I think the new low design is the best compromise/solution. The 'functional' aero is for the Z06/ZR1/Zora where it might actually get used by 1% of owners 😁

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          • #6
            At the intro back in 2019, GM said the low spoiler and the high wing produce about the same amount of downforce, but the high wing does it with much less drag. Wings are more efficient because both the top and bottom surfaces can be used to affect airflow. The C8 spoiler is a compromise that gives the downforce necessary to balance the car for track use without sticking way up above the deck, which many (most?) buyers don't want. Raising the sides off the deck allows less drag than a pure spoiler (with the same downforce) would, without being as in your face like a high wing.
            Last edited by meyerweb; 11-24-2021, 11:20 PM.
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            • #7
              When I originally spec’d my C8 out I included the optional high wing. Because of supplier issues they could not get me the high wing so I wound up with the standard Z51 wing. In retrospect I’m happy with the wing I received. A. It was included in the Z51 package (the high wing was an additional $1200 or there about). B. The shape has grown on me, form and function. Makes accessing the engine/cargo bays easier then straddling that high wing. C. I’m fairly certain that both wing designs give you the same amount of downforce (500 lbs) so that giant wing is more for aesthetics.

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              • #8
                Thanks everyone for the trespasses. I finely have a new appreciation for the Z51 wing. I hadn't considered the turbulent air coming off the roof line, which I imagine is made worse by the engine venting from both the coupe and convertible. It might end up being a moot point, as I'm still 50/50 on Z51. One build with GT2 seats and some other cosmetic add-ons, but no Z51. The other with Z51 and GT1 seats. If I go Z51 at least now I'll keep the wing. If not then I'm leaning to the Victor Racing wing at the stock height, the Z06 low wing or high wing of someone makes them scaled to the Stingray, or the ACS Composites speed tail which is like the Z06 low wing.

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