Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: “So how much faster will that Summit Racing sticker make my car?”
Or this one: “That Summit Racing decal’s gotta be good for at least five extra horsepower.”
The idea that having a Summit Racing sticker or decal plastered on your ride somehow makes it seem sportier…or faster…or hot roddier…has been playfully tossed around for years (no, you’re not the first to come up with that comedic gold). But after years of hearing knee-slapping one-liners like the ones mentioned above, it turns out the joke may actually be on all of us.
While a Summit Racing decal obviously won’t ever add a single horsepower to your vehicle, recent wind tunnel tests conducted by Team Summit driver Greg Anderson suggests Summit Racing decals (or any other decals) can actually enhance the performance of your car or truck. Anderson stumbled upon the accidental discovery while testing his team’s new Pro Stock Camaros, which are set to debut later in the season.
“We tested the Camaros numerous times in preparation for their debut later on this season,” Anderson said. “Before a last go-around in the wind tunnel to verify our previous numbers, we added the Summit Racing decals to my car as well as a few other decals from our associate sponsors. That was the only change made to the car, and we saw a noticeable aerodynamic improvement.”
Anderson and crew aren’t the first ones to make the discovery. Dr. Kevin Smithwick, a mechanical engineering professor at East Carolina Institute of Technology, conducted similar research as part of his thesis* and backed up Anderson’s observations.
“What we found is that the glossy coating on the decals actually reduced air or wind resistance—much like the swim-suit material worn by Olympic swimmers repels water and reduces drag,” Smithwick said. “In both cases, you get a definite competitive advantage. In the case of a few well placed automotive stickers, that can mean a slight increase in speed, depending on sticker size and placement and size of the vehicle. Smaller vehicles like tuner cars apparently gain the most performance from decals.”
On-track testing at KB Racing’s dragstrip also seems to point to an increase in speed. Anderson’s Camaro, which had consistently produced slightly lower speeds than teammate Jason Line’s identical Camaro, began to outperform Line’s still decal-free Camaro after all its decals were in place.
“We made most of the same adjustments to each car, but somehow mine found an extra couple mile-per-hour,” the four-time Pro Stock champ said.
It certainly begs the question: Is it the decals?
“I’m not sayin’… but I’m just sayin,” Anderson quipped.
Scroll down for a video on how to properly place your decals for maximum performance.
*This is an April Fools joke—do not attempt to shorten your commute, outrun the law, or jump the Grand Canyon using Summit Racing stickers. Greg Anderson does not endorse the use of stickers or decals as power-adders. He just likes stickers.