The Coolest Thing I Saw At SEMA This Year Is Active Aero

Image: Bradley Brownell

SEMA is about more than just Supras with big wheels and roof-mounted tents on everything [“Overlanding is so hot right now,” I overheard someone unironically say]. It’s supposed to be a trade show, you know, where you show your new product to other people in your trade. When it comes to truly new product, this self-contained active aero wing is the only thing that really got me rev’d up. Victor Racing was tucked away in a lesser traveled section of the show, and they were more than happy to show me how it works.

Usually, an active aero setup has to tap into the car’s electronics somehow to tell the wing when to move, for example, when you’re at full throttle or when you brake. The Victor Racing setup uses a configurable accelerometer to turn the wing into an air brake or flatten it out when you’re headed down a long straight.

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A friend of mine once built active aero for his LS-powered Miata using a pair of pop-up headlight motors tied into the brake light circuit.

This system doesn’t need to tie into your CAN bus, or your OBD port, or hard wire into your brake or throttle systems. It just needs a 12v power supply from anywhere in your car, and it’s otherwise completely stand-alone, which I found very interesting.

This is a very easy way for the average numpty to add advanced aero tech to your track car without an advanced engineering degree. Don’t you want to be able to execute a DRS pass like your Formula One heroes?

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This could be a game changer for the track-focused among us. It might take a few tenths off your best time if you can stall your wing on the straights, and your braking will certainly improve with a massive air brake on the back like this one. I’ve driven some street cars with active aero, and it’s not just there for looks.

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This little box is the controller for this system, which can be mounted pretty much anywhere, but would work easily inside the trunk or rear hatch area of your track car build. That’s all there is. Wing, motors, controller, power supply. You’ve got active aero. 

And for those of you who just want a cool-looking piece of tech to show off at your local cars & coffee, you can leave the wing in “demo mode” and it’ll just move to a random position every 5 seconds.

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I’d love to see more of this from SEMA. Sadly, it was one of only a few standouts. Are there really no new ideas?

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About the author

Bradley Brownell

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.