Check Out The Mclaren Speedtail’s Crazy Bendy Carbon Fiber

by Heather Platt | Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2018

When I first saw pictures of the McLaren Speedtail, a 1035-hp, 250-mph three-seater from the British supercar brand, I was confused about what was going on at the back. Shown in the picture was a flap on the tail that seemed to meld seamlessly with the bodywork. How was that possible? Carfection illustrates it in its video tour of the Speedtail, and it’s quite something to see.

2019 Mclaren Speedtail

These are ailerons like you’d see on the wing of a plane, and as Rory Reid shows, they’re totally flexible. It almost looks like it’s a simple plastic piece, but McLaren being McLaren, it’s actually made from carbon fiber, just like the rest of the Speedtail’s bodywork. McLaren explains these ailerons in the press release it sent out alongside photos of the Speedtail:

“These dynamic elements are hydraulically actuated and an integral part of the rear clamshell, formed in flexible carbon fibre; the body of the Speedtail can quite literally bend. With a tolerance of only 1mm between the surfaces, this dramatic new technology all but removes any gaps or shutlines between the vehicle and the leading edge of the spoilers, meaning there is no turbulent air, no drag and no loss of speed.”

So like so much else on the Speedtail, these elements are designed to help reduce drag, allowing the car to accelerate hard to its 250-mph top speed. There are a ton of other cool aero details Reid and Carfection show off in this video that you can’t quite appreciate in pictures.

I’m an especially big fan of the aero covers on the front wheels. At first, I thought they resembled the “turbo fans” used on some sports racing cars of the 1970s and 1980s, but made from some sort of textile. They’re actually carbon fiber, and unlike turbo fans, they’re fixed in place.


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