So, was it all worth it? In a word: abso-frickin-lutely. Before this race, we’d never driven an aero-improved car in wheel to wheel action, and the difference is absolutely amazing. Pass on the outside through Turn 9 at Willow Springs? Why not? Divebomb that Miata and stick him between you and the competition? Yep. Drift around the oval at Auto Club? Dai would be sad.
The difference in our confidence in the car’s ability to stick is amazing. I never realized it before, but driving the car with no aero improvements was a case study of constant tension: at any time, that car was going to kick back at you, step out, lock up, or all three at once. Now, it’s smooth sailing all the way through. As stated, passing lower classed cars was once a maddening experience, but now it barely warrants a second thought: just stick the car wherever it’ll fit and trust that the superior MPTCC power to weight ratio will rocket you down the next straight ahead of them.
Quantitatively, our aero improvements were worth about a 1.5-2 seconds a lap, but this was before we discovered that our GT-250 worked better on our car sans gurney flap. After removing the gurney flap, we found we were able to balance the car out better in the higher speed corners like Willow Spring’s turn 9 or Auto Club’s turn 14-16 complex, resulting in improved exit speed. This improvement would’ve been validated at Auto Club in March, but that event was rained out and we weren’t able to collect new lap times.
Overall, if you’re on the fence about whether or not to add a splitter and rear wing to your car, get off of it: this is one of the best mods we’ve done to our car (well, the turbo was nice too). The difference in confidence and absolute grip at speed have made a world of difference. I suppose that sort of justifies the ugliness that is a modern F1 car. Sort of.