New Free On-line Training Videos......
Racer's Guide to Suspension Tuning"
for every one interested in handling, especially for racing and high
Thompson, December 2015,
Suspension Set Up
It takes good initial design and
careful tuning to produce a successful racing car.
Looking at what our business could do in
racing and suspension set up in
1999, we needed low cost procedures that would get us results for
amateur racing car owner/drivers. We liked two concepts in
particular - suspension
frequency (comparable ride stiffness number between all racing cars)
and lateral load transfer, that we developed into our weight transfer "calculator", the Weight Transfer Worksheet (WTW).
The "tuning" part
(the set up) is a blurred area. What areas of suspension
development are considered "tuning", and what are really
elements of the original suspension design? Some elements of the original
design may be changed in the suspension set up, maybe they
won't. In changing a design
parameter, we need to be able to justify that in terms of our own understanding of how the car works.
This is where we see the need for our new articles "How Does the
Driver Control the Car?" and the "Tyre" presentation which you can
read in the Technical Pages. (There are intro videos and intro
power point presentation on the home page of this web site.)
Paul Haney wrote "People involved in the technical aspects of racing try to understand
what's going on but realize the complications. They develop a set of personal beliefs about how the racecar works that helps them most of
the time. When new information arises the most open minded of this group quickly shed their old beliefs or modifies them to embrace the
new data. "
Millekin and Millekin, "Race
Car Vehicle Dynamics" (RCVD) -
"..we discuss specific problems that may arise in tuning an
existing car. ...the possible solutions offered are by no means
complete. The suggested remedies are accurate...but there will
always be exceptions, the following should be treated as a guideline,
not as "gospel".....Cars that have large compliances (often
unknown by the team) can be unresponsive to the standard changes to
which other cars respond." See Morgan Magic **, in
the side bar.
Claude Rouelle "What I do
in this seminar is share my knowledge and experience in racecar
engineering. It's not that we tell them any tricks, you need to
understand what you're working with so you can deal with all the
changes and unknowns in racing. I think it's almost as bad to be
on the pole and not know why as it is to fail to qualify for a race
and not know why."
It is clear from the above,
and talking to anyone involved, that suspension set up defies complete
However, simple roll stiffness
analysis (lateral weight transfer calculations) is easy to do (our WTW) This
gives a calculated number, the "magic number" that describes the steady state balance for the car. We have proved it is valuable for open
wheeler race cars on the one hand, through to production based cars. We
also build our understanding of the limitations as we go, probably a
new insight with every application.
"Vehicle dynamics would be a
very simple field if (roll stiffness analysis) described it
entirely. However the pneumatic tyres in use have some features
that add complication. The most significant of these is the need
for the tyres to have a slip angle in or order to generate a lateral
force." Blundell and Harty, The Multibody Systems Approach
to Vehicle Dynamics, 2004.
This book, along with Claude Rouelle's
race car engineering seminar, Angelo Tempia's stability and control
seminar and a re-read of Racing Car Vehicle Dynamics, led to the
development of our new articles on "How Does the Driver Control the
Car?" and "Tyres".
to our technical pages today. We are presenting only entirely practical
examples and ideas, that do not require an engineering background to
implement. We offer a 100% money back guarantee, as shown on our
We also offer our workshop set up
service. We can go track testing with you. Available for all
racing and road performance cars.
Not about suspension set up,
but interesting. Now that the era of 1600 Kent engine
Formula Ford has ended, at the national level...........
Who are the Fast
Men of Formula Ford? (in
Australian FF history)
Think about the
car and driver combinations that had genuine pace. It will
probably relate to performance in one year. (If you won, you
move out of FF for the next year.)
If you could find out who had the
most lap records in their most successful year this would be a good
clue. Also, who had long standing lap records? (Did they start with new lap records in the mid
70's when they went onto road radial tyres? This is a problem with this analysis)
The speed of the cars is roughly
comparable over the 30 years, except for the road radial tyre period
in the 1970's. My rough assessment of car
70's cars - 1st generation
80 - 85 - 2nd generation
86 - 92 - 3rd generation
92 - 2005 - 4th generation (with updates, eg Stealth, for older
90's cars are 1 1/2 to 2 seconds
per 60 secs of lap time faster than 1st generation cars. I
think about half of that is engine development. On some power circuits
The problem with the comparison is
that the drivers only have to go as fast as required to beat the
competition. But it is clear if you do qualify at better than
lap record pace, or take lap records, you are genuinely quick, in the
history of Formula Ford.
I have looked at the chart on the
Formula Ford web site (not on the new site) that shows the number of national series race
wins for each driver.... more