You may have guessed from the number 5 item on our list that exterior components on cars, like hood scoops, often have performance purposes. That goes double for race cars. Whether in NASCAR, Formula One or drag racing, everything on the outside of a race car serves a purpose, and that purpose isn't to look good.
Still, because we associate the smooth, flowing shapes of race cars with power, performance and glamour, these designs are often translated in production cars. Racing teams, and race car designers, were some of the first to use wind tunnel testing to create the most aerodynamic shapes. Because race cars go so fast, race car engineers and designers created spoilers and air dams to keep the cars stable at speed. Those aerodynamic components looked so good on race cars that automakers soon got into the game and have now added them to many production cars -- in a slightly toned-down form, of course.
Bringing lap times down and fuel economy up is the goal of the next item on our list. If you're looking for more material, the next page has it.