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The World of Aftermarket Upgrades

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Aftermarket upgrades improve aerodynamics, power, and traction.

While modern-day performance cars roll off the production line with plenty of power to accompany any road or track, a majority of owners look to install aftermarket parts in pursuit of achieving the ultimate look and feel. With so many product options when it comes to modifying a car, the aftermarket industry brings together a community of passionate enthusiasts eager to share their experiences and knowledge. Whether you’re looking to enhance aerodynamics, upgrade an interior, add horsepower with tuning, or grab more traction with a better tire setup, there is a brand in the industry specializing in taking things to the next level.

Lightweight aerodynamic body designs make for better cornering and faster lap times by incorporating exterior add-ons made from weight-saving materials like carbon fiber. With downforce and cooling being two crucial aspects of performance driving, drivers install body kits, lip splitters, diffusers, and rear wings to help increase airflow. The same idea of weight savings follows into the interior, where a “less is more” approach is adopted. Going from stock to aftermarket opens more space for race-style bucket seats, carbon trim pieces, roll cages, sport steering wheels, and track electronics.

The importance of creating a driver-oriented interior space puts the racer in a comfortable and confident position for success.

All car enthusiasts can agree that horsepower and torque drive the passion for anything automotive, always envisioning a bigger motor and higher top speed. The journey of increasing the power output of an engine platform comes in a series of stages, using electronic engine management tuning and additional performance parts that work in unison. Aftermarket specialists like BRABUS develop tuning software that generates more power from a vehicle’s stock motor by meticulously managing areas like ignition timing, air/fuel ratio, and boost. When stock motors and tunes just don’t cut it, forced induction from turbochargers and supercharger packages add boost that changes the driving dynamics of the once stock vehicle. Tuning and modification creates friendly competition on and off the track, leaving owners to decide how much horsepower is too much.

With more horsepower and torque comes the need for traction, a problem easily solved by upgrading to a more aggressive wheel and tire setup. Preaching the idea of weight reduction, a set of aftermarket wheels provides lightness while also offering a selection of widths that increase surface contact for performance tires. Advancements in wheel manufacturing open the door for endless choices for owners, using high-end materials and finishes that completely transform the appearance of any car. When selecting a new tire to manage the extra power, it’s important to take aspects like geographical location, intended driving style, speed ratings, and tread patterns into consideration. Correctly matching a wheel and tire setup to these crucial factors will allow you to comfortably apply full power while trusting that the vehicle will grip to road or track.

Although sports cars, supercars, and hypercars arguably come from manufacturers as the best versions of themselves, there will always be a perceived need to push the boundaries of design, performance, and technology. Without a step-by-step recipe for creating the perfect build, the art of modification reveals an intuitive process that requires a high level of research and development. As the automotive aftermarket industry continues to adapt to its ever-changing environment, collectors and enthusiasts will have plenty of options and inspiration when deciding how to improve their ride.


This article appeared in our August 2022 issue.

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