Patent Discovery: Will the Mid-Engine Corvette Have One More Secret?

Sebastien Bell
by Sebastien Bell

If you want to keep up with the rest of the supercar industry these days, you’ve got to be playing around with active aerodynamics. And now GM is primed to throw its hat in the ring with the catchily named “variable-width aerodynamic spoiler assemblies and control logic for motor vehicles.”

Essentially, the patent, unearthed by GM Inside News, outlines GM’s new extendo-wing, which allows either side of a rear spoiler to extend, thereby improving downforce over the back end. The really novel feature, though, will be the wing’s ability to move actively and independently through a corner.

That means that not only can a car fitted with the wing add more downforce to the whole back end, it can also move just one side of the wing to add more downforce to, say, the right rear tire specifically.

By doing that, a car can effectively use the wing as a form of torque vectoring. Giving a specific corner of the car more downforce gives a specific wheel more grip. That means that you can funnel more power to, say, the outside rear wheel, to help power you around a corner.

Just how much time is an active wing worth? Well, when Lamborghini brought its Huracan with active aero to the Nurburgring, it set a sweltering sub-seven minute lap time at the track. Interestingly, that’s exactly the type of time Chevrolet wants to set with the ZR1.

That system, by contrast, involved flaps in the bodywork that redirected the air to either flow over or around the fixed aero elements (spoilers and such). The brilliance of it, though, was that a) it didn’t require very heavy electric motors and b) the flaps could open in fractions of a second.

That allowed the Huracan Performante to actively funnel air where it was needed not just through a lap, but through a corner.

And that’s GM is hoping to do with this patent. Either side of the spoiler can move through a corner to constantly give the wheel that needs grip the most grip.

The other advantage of the system is in the retracting of the wing. With the wing at its narrowest, it should be developing less downforce and, therefore, less drag. That should make it faster on the straights as well as faster around the corners.

ALSO SEE: Watch: Mid Engine Corvette Laps the Nurburgring

And although I think we can all agree that we expect this tech to make its debut on the mid-engine Corvette, such a spoiler could be fitted to any fast car. That seems to be what GM is suggesting in the above C7 drawings. It’s not just big, racy wings that could potentially extend, but smaller ones, too. So this tech could easily be applied to Corvettes, Camaros, V-Sport Caddies, or whatever else has high corner speeds.

Whether or not it will be as successful as Lamborghini’s system remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, there are big gains to be made with active aerodynamics.

Additional reporting by Dennis Chung

This article originally appeared on

Sebastien Bell
Sebastien Bell

Sebastien is a roving reporter who covers Euros, domestics, and all things enthusiast. He has been writing about the automotive industry for four years and obsessed with it his whole life. He studied English at the Wilfrid Laurier University. Sebastien also edits for AutoGuide's sister sites VW Vortex, Fourtitude, Swedespeed, GM Inside News, All Ford Mustangs, and more.

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