The greatest Porsche spoilers and rear wings
From ducktails to tacos, the story behind the iconic Porsche rear spoilers
View of line of Porsche 911 sportscars and rear wings
Spoiler alert: Porsche rear wings add much more than just drama – their many innovative designs have helped to boost the performance of Porsche cars on both road and track. Discover some of the all-time greats
With a history steeped in motorsport, it’s no surprise that Porsche has been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to designing aerodynamic spoilers (or rear wings as some people call them) to help improve a car’s performance, whether for its racing cars or sportscars. From the ducktail of the inimitable 911 Carrera RS 2.7 to the head-turning rear wing of the 911 GT3 RS (type 992), we’ve gathered together four of the greatest Porsche rear wings to tell their story.[No text in field]Porsche ducktailWhen the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 was launched in 1972 little did we know the impact it would have not just for Porsche but the design of sportscars and racing cars in general. It was the first production car to feature a new style of aerodynamic rear wing that came to be known as the ducktail spoiler. Today, it remains a trailblazer both in terms of its design and gamechanging properties.[No text in field]
Porsche 911 Sport Classic with ducktail spoiler in front of green mountain
The now legendary rear wing was given its memorable ducktail nickname by the Porsche marketing department
The ducktail, so called because of its characteristic shape, was designed to counteract the effects that such a lightweight Porsche sportscar – it tipped the scales at under 1000kg – had on its stability. The rear wing’s unique design helped keep the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 planted on the road by increasing the car’s downforce. Despite the legendary status that it commands today, it would be almost four decades before we saw a factory-built Porsche car fitted with the ducktail spoiler again when it appeared on the 911 Sport Classic (type 997). While the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS saw just 1,580 units roll off the production line during its lifetime, the next Porsche car adorned with the ducktail was even rarer still, with just 250 produced. The enduring legacy of the ducktail remains disproportionate to the limited numbers of cars on which it has featured. It’s certainly earned its iconic status. Porsche whale tailAn evolution of the ducktail, the whale tail rear wing first appeared on the 1974 911 Carrera RS 3.0. Larger and flatter than the ducktail, it featured upturned trailing edge with rubber edges. Just like the ducktail, its name came about due to its resemblance to a creature from the animal world.
Close-up shot of whale tail rear wing on silver Porsche
The Porsche whale tail rear wing – also known as the ‘tea tray’ in later iterations – is as eye-catching as it is innovative
The whale tail exists in several different iterations: the first and original appeared on the 911 Carrera RS 3.0 and had a recessed grille that followed the line of the engine cover and another on the flat expanse of the spoiler itself. The second version of the wing was seen on the 911 Turbo Carrera (G series) between 1976 and 1977. Here, the first grille was set into the spoiler itself; the second was smaller than that on the original whale tail. In the late 1970s, a full rubber variant was offered to customers in Europe on certain models. As the spoiler evolved over the years, it featured different grilles, rubber quantity and placements. However, the design of the spoiler’s tell-tale feature – its upturned end – remained consistent. The final iteration of the whale tail rear wing became known as the Carrera tail when it was introduced on the 1984 911 Carrera. Porsche taco wingThe so-called ‘taco’ wing may not be quite as well-known as its whale tail and ducktail predecessors, but its unique design certainly stands out. Introduced on the Porsche 911 GT3 (type 996.1) – although later also made available as part of a factory aerokit – it got its rather curious nickname from its resemblance from the side to the shape of one of Mexico’s culinary staples. It’s also known, by some, as the Pacman spoiler – which is also easy to see why.
Red Porsche 911 GT3 with taco spoiler in front of snow-capped mountains
The Porsche taco spoiler featured on the 911 GT3 (type 996.1)
First introduced to the public at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show, the 996.1 GT3 was a track-focused version of the Porsche 996 Carrera, and the first-ever Porsche to feature the GT3 nameplate. It had a limited production run of just 1,868 units. The car could generate up to 300lbs of downforce when hitting its top speed of 304km/h – reason enough to prove exactly why this subtle but highly effective rear aero was needed. Its contribution to all future generations of the Porsche GT3 models cannot be underestimated. Porsche swan neckFitted to several Porsche race cars since its introduction in the mid-2010s, the swan neck rear wing can be seen on track-focused cars such as the 911 RSR and the 911 GT3 R. It gets its name from the swooping shape of the supports that connect the rear wing to the car itself, a style that can still be seen in modified form on many contemporary race cars.
White and red liveried Porsche 911 RSR at Daytona track
The Porsche 911 RSR, sporting its trademark swan neck rear wing, on the track at the 24 Hours of Daytona
The design of this particular wing allows for greater adjustability and aerodynamic performance when compared to traditional rear wings, its special design allowing air to flow more smoothly over is top surface. Its particular design allows larger wings to be used without adding significant extra weight, therefore helping to further enhance the downforce capabilities of the car. The first Porsche to feature this swan neck spoiler was the Porsche 911 RSR (type 991), which was built to compete in endurance racing. Introduced in 2013, it went on to achieve a string of victories, including class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and 2019. The Porsche 911 RSR made its final bow for Porsche works teams – it is still being raced by private teams – at the 8 Hours of Bahrain in 2022, after 10 successful seasons of competition.
Consumption and emission information 911 GT3 (WLTP): Fuel consumption combined: 13,0 - 12,9 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 294 - 293 g/km; CO₂ class: G.
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