1977 Lotus 78: Ground Effects Aerodynamics
Pushing a car efficiently through the air has always been the goal of designers and engineers. But it took a leap of genius to manage the air running beneath a car to increase downforce and help a racecar stick to the track. The Lotus 78 was the first "ground effects" car in Formula One; it used large side pods that contained what amounted to inverted wings. As air passed through the pods, it would accelerate around these wings, creating a lower pressure air under the car that would suck it down closer to the pavement. Ground effects can't be applied as aggressively in a street car that needs to clear driveways, speed bumps, and road divots, but within those limits, some ground effects shapes have appeared under high performance vehicles including Ferraris and McLarens.