Suspension Tuning 101 and 102
Here’s the Set-Up You Need for a Faster Race Car....
Here are the 3 steps to a good baseline set-up for good mechanical grip and balance for understeer/oversteer:
- You need anti-roll bars front and rear*. They should be an efficient design, least amount of lost motion. There is no down-side to anti-roll bars. See our blog:
They are the best way for you to limit roll, and balance the car for understeer/oversteer.
- Decide on the “spring rate” front and rear (the spring stiffness in lbs/in kg/mm etc) for best response and grip at the tyres. We give you guidance as to what suspension stiffness (ride stiffness) will work best for your use of your race or road performance car.
- Choose the size of the anti-roll bars you need - for best overall "roll stiffness" - the degree of roll acceptable - and also the “roll stiffness distribution” needed for good balance for understeer/oversteer.)
*If you have compromised or no anti-roll bar front and/or rear and cannot change the car under your rules, you should still perform the calculations to balance the car by other means, such as springs and roll centre height.
Then do the final set-up and wheel alignment in the Workshop, and go to the track, knowing you have good grip at the tyres, and better balance for understeer/oversteer.
It’s all about a faster race car. With our recommended set-up, many clients go seconds per lap quicker - with the same engine, same tyres.
This free training, Suspension Tuning 101 and 102, gives you a complete overview of the suspension set-up training you get with our premium on-line training course, "Get More Grip and Better Balance".
What is Set-Up?
For many racers, the first thing that comes to mind is a suspension set-up sheet where you record all your suspension settings - like corner weights, caster, camber, toe, tyre pressures and temperatures, etc etc. But this is not what we are referring to here.
Of course, your wheel alignment settings, things like toe, camber caster and corner weighting are important to get right. They are certainly part of the workshop set-up you do before you go racing.
But there is much more. Getting the right springs and anti-roll bars are the basis of your set-up for best grip at the tyres and balance for understeer/oversteer.
We're looking at the elements of your set-up producing the greatest result in terms of improved lap time. (For some of our clients, that's seconds per lap improvement.)
Springs and anti-roll bars have the most influence on the mid corner handling balance of the race car. The shock absorbers are secondary. You choose your shock settings after you have good mechanical balance with springs and anti-roll bars.
In 101, we talk about two key concepts in setup, plus the "silver bullet" at the centre of suspension tuning for mechanical grip - the method we use to influence the "weight transfer distribution".
The car's overteer/understeer balance during cornering is determined by the load distribution between the front and rear axles. Suspension Tuning is all about influencing the balance by adjusting the vehicle's roll stiffness distribution until the required balance is achieved.
We show you a graphic of how this works. More or less weight can be transferred across the front of the car, resulting in a simple calculation of the "Front Weight Transfer Distribution (FWTD) Percentage", our measure of the balance of the car.
Our set-up Excel spreadsheet, the Racing Car Technology Weight Transfer Worksheet™ (WTW), does all the calculations for you. Getting the input data, the weighing and measuring of the car, couldn't be easier with the instructions we give you.
Inexperienced in racing? You'll find you can do this.
Experienced? Even decades of experience? You may be surprised that such calculation of the baseline set-up is possible, and wonder why others have not made this information available to grass roots racers before. (You can read about roll stiffness distribution in books, even read the equations for the calculations, but nobody else has created a spreadsheet to do the calculations, with the required detailed instructions, and make it applicable for all race cars on four wheels, all types of suspension.)
In the 102 video, you can follow along with an example. You'll see the whole process in broad outline, showing you what you would be doing, if you were to use our procedures for yourself.
Get a Faster Race Car....
Our clients get fantastic results. Often seconds faster in lap time, sometimes winning races for the first time, and setting fastest laps.
Our client, James Burge, took out the Legend Cars Australia Ashphalt series in 2018, winning nearly all the races. It was held over 6 rounds at circuits around Australia. At the first round, Winton, Victoria, he was so quick in qualifying (seconds under the lap record), the scrutineers were all over his car, until they were satisfied it complied.
James's car was brand new at the beginning of the series, testing miles only. Jame's and his father, Peter, prepared the car with suspension set-up by us at Racing Car Technology.
Selecting the springs and anti-roll bars you need....
Deciding on Springs and Anti-Roll bars is a key procedure when working with the Racing Car Technology Weight Transfer Worksheet™. There is no other application out there for you to do this. You can avoid the "best guess" and get spring and anti-roll bar rates you can rely on.
You try different options in the spreadsheet, optimizing grip and balance. Then you can do the set-up in the workshop, and go to the track, knowing you have a set-up with good grip at the tyres, and good balance for understeer/oversteer.
Our procedures are equally applicable for race and road performance cars.
Even if you don't work on the car yourself, you'll be able to specify what you want, and have your preferred workshop do the work for you.
This free training shows you in some detail how easy it is to do this ground-breaking suspension tuning. To proceed to use the Weight Transfer Worksheet™ (WTW) yourself, get our online training program "Get More Grip and Better Balance". There are WTWs for every type of race car on four wheels, and help within the course to make sure you are able to complete a meaningful WTW for your race car.
The Free Training is on our On-Line Training Platform....
Sign Up by pressing on the green sign up/buy now button, enter your email address and choose a password, or login if you are already a subscriber.
You get free access. Credit card not required. You decide after the free training, if you wish to proceed to the paid course.