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Covering Sports cars & Supercars

The Design of Speed

1966 Chaparral 2E

📸: Photo courtesy

Our Serious Downforce series continues. However we're shifting focus from the fixed or adjustable basket handle type of wing, to cars with active adjustable wings. That is, aerodynamic devices that are either automatically or manually adjusted, to either increase downforce or reduce drag, while the car is in motion.

📸: Photo courtesy

The car featured here is widely credited as the first race car to implement a driver-adjustable wing. American racer Jim Hall developed the Chaparral 2 series of race cars, with the 2E version being the first one to sport the big overhead rear wing. The car featured a clutchless, semi-automatic transmission, which meant the driver's left foot was free to perform tasks other than operating the clutch. So Hall configured a pedal that allowed the driver to adjust the wing while in motion: by depressing the pedal, the wing moved to low drag, low downforce position; by releasing the pedal, the wing moved to its high drag, high downforce setting.

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