Race car suspension geometry

Suspension Tuning is a critical part of getting the ultimate performance package, it is even possible to have a more competitive car then a rival with superior upgrades by having a well balanced set up, which maximises the available grip levels.

It all comes done to extracting the best from what components you have and making sure they are well set up for the road or track conditions. With upgraded suspension components, you have the potential for increase cornering capacities, by fine during the overall suspension balance and even help to eliminate weaknesses in the car chassis or handling characteristics. We can reduce understeer and oversteer characteristics with the adjustments of anti-roll bar sway barsbump and rebound, ride height, spring rates, corner and static weights.

The combinations are extreme and the more adjust-ability you have with suspension upgrades, the more the need to get the suspension tuning correct. We can increase acceleration, braking and cornering forces by manipulating suspension adjustments. Suspension tuning even has an impact on the aerodynamics nature of the car under down force loads. We can increase down force levels with suspension tuning with the adjustments of ride height and spring rates for example.

Here is a list of things you need to identify before you can adjust the suspension to aid in achieving improved suspension tuning objectives:.

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Engine characteristics, including maximum BHP and torque levels. Track conditions, road smoothness, road camber changes, elevation, weather conditions, corner speeds, straight top speed, braking zones, apex kerbing and even if the track is used regularly or if it is a special event.

Or if you want a generalised fast road set-up. All of the above points, will give you an ideal of what the objectives of the suspension tuning needs to achieve.

The suspension tuning for a F1 car if emulated for a lowed powered formula Ford, will not be effective, each car has its own needs from a performance point of view from the suspension. Ultimately we want the tyres to remain in contact with the road at all times, with the greatest configurations to ensure maximum grip and loading.

Anti-Roll Sway Bars as discussed in the Suspension Upgrades page, can provide adjustable settings in the suspension set up. Especially useful in dialling out oversteer, or understeer handling characteristics and getting a better balanced car. They have the same effects as changing the spring rates, but the focus of control is only used in lateral cornering forces.

The reason this is so useful for suspension tuning, is that you can make adjustment to front and rear anti-roll bars independently with out affecting other suspension settings. Stiffer settings will reduce body roll, while softer settings will increase body roll. The relationship between the front and rear settings roll couplingwill also have a direct affect on the handling of the car. Like most suspension adjustments, it is best to take small incremental adjustments rather then going to one extreme to the other.

It is critical that the right anti-roll bar is also selected to complement the other suspension components. I would suggest seeking profession advice on the overall suspension set up, as a whole and not just individual upgrades, when considering suspension adjustments.

It is generally accepted that it is better to reduce the anti-roll bar settings, rather then increase them to get a better balanced car. Softer settings will make weight transfer more gradual, with less abrupt loading of the tyres, bending into corners rather then darting into them. Great care needs to be taken with too soft a setting as well, if the car has a low centre of gravity, a soft setting could result in the car bottoming out.

Which results in loss of traction, grip and even car control in the extremes. Also camber settings ranges could be affected with a soft setting, where the tyre exceeds the optimum set up. Having too stiff a setting could result in poor handling in tight corners, with the inside wheel lifting off the ground.

If either of the two wheels linked on the axle are on different road surfaces one wheel on track, other on the side of the trackhaving a stiff set up will result in imbalances being transmitted through the anti-roll bar to the other driven wheel, on the opposite side. Lets have a look at the way we can adjust understeer and oversteer handling characteristics with the adjustment of anti-roll bars, also what effect the actual settings will have on the car if the stiffness is set too high.

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Increased corner exit oversteer, hard to put power down with excessive sliding. The Camber angle settings of the suspension can come in three different variations vertically viewed from the front of the carpositive, neutral and negative camber.

It is normally represented in degrees.The upright or knuckle attaches the wheel, brake rotor, hub, brake caliper and steering arm to the vehicle as shown in diagram KU1 below. The upright also locates these components in space. Diagram KU1 shows an example of an independent wishbone suspension that is not driven. The upright Yellow is attached to the vehicle using the upper and lower wishbones which have ball joints or rod-ends.

This allows the upright to move vertically and to rotate about the king pin axis See below. Integrated into or attached to the upright is the spindle. Bearings Orange are inserted into the hub Red and it is slid over the spindle and held in place by a retaining nut. The brake disc Blue slides over the lugs Threaded bolts extending from the hub.

The brake caliper Light blue is attached to the upright using a bracket. Diagram KU1. Diagram KU2 shows an example of an independent wishbone suspension for a driven wheel.

As with the non-driven version, the upright Yellow is attached to the vehicle using the upper and lower wishbones which have ball joints or rod-ends.

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In order to drive the wheel, a half-shaft or driveshaft Gold extends from the chassis and uses a CV joint to enable suspension movement while driving the wheel. A splined shaft Green extends from the CV joint and passes through the upright.

Two bearings Orange are used to support the shaft inside the upright. The hub Red slides over the spline on the shaft and is secured using a nut. The brake disk Blue then slides over the lugs extending from the hub. Diagram KU2. Wishbones, links and axles connect the previously mentioned upright or knuckle to the car chassis.

Depending on suspension type, they behave in different ways, but always with the goals of controlling lateral, longitudinal and vertical motion of the wheels. Wishbones look just like the name suggests.

race car suspension geometry

Diagram WL1 below shows a wishbone highlighted in yellow. Diagram WL1. Wishbone Also sometimes referred to as an A-Arm. Links sometimes called radius rods are rods that are used to enable the wheel to move in a particular axis.

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Diagram WL2 below shows how a live axle uses links to control its movement. The parallel rods allow the wheels to move up and down. The lateral rod controls lateral movement of the axle. Diagram WL2.There are dozens of variations of suspension types used on race and passenger vehicles. Depending on the type of racing for race carsthe road surface and evolution of the vehicles, the suspension is designed to accommodate multiple requirements.

The beam axle is just as its name would suggest—It is a beam or tube connecting the two front wheels. As shown in diagram BA1, connections to the chassis are provided by link rods in red which allow for vertical movement of the suspension and a lateral locating link rod in yellow that prevents lateral movement of the axle while still enabling vertical movement.

This type of suspension provides simplicity and generally low construction costs. It lends itself well to adjusting the offset of the wheels relative to the chassiswhich is useful in circle track racing. It is used today primarily in Sprint and Midget cars and in pickup trucks.

Beam axles excel in two areas: their ability to maintain zero camber during body roll and their ability to provide high strength. Unfortunately, the strength comes at a price of extra weight. The way the beam axle connects to the chassis has a big impact on how this suspension behaves. For instance, steering angle can change with things like road bumps if the linkage is not designed to be neutral during suspension movement.

If appropriately designed, these challenges can be largely overcome. Many production cars especially if they have Front-drive use the MacPherson strut suspension. Both parts provide lateral and longitudinal locating while still permitting vertical movement. They are simple and relatively low cost to construct which is why Macpherson strut suspensions are used on many economy cars. However this suspension type does suffer from some disadvantages.

If you put wide tires on a MacPherson strut suspension, the scrub radius increases, which in turn increases not only the overall steering effort required, but also the loading on suspension members that can lead to damage.

It also eliminates most of the behavior problems of other suspension designs, making it desirable when precise handling is required. Diagram UEL1. Unequal length wishbone independent front suspension showing the steering link blue. The price paid for such a design is increased cost to construct, but for racing and sports cars it is very much worth the additional cost.

Used extensively in the past on rear wheel drive passenger vehicles, the Live Axle continues to be used because of its strength and simplicity. The basic design shown in diagram LA1 below uses a tube which joins the two rear wheels. In the middle is a differential that apportions power to each wheel.

As with the beam axle, links or leaf springs are used to join the axle to the chassisallowing vertical movement and controlling longitudinal and lateral movement. Diagram LA2. Hotchkiss-type live axle rear suspension.

Several sub-types of Live Axle suspension exist, with each differentiated by the way they connect to the chassis and the approach they use to managing suspension behavior. Hotchkiss Drive suspensions as shown above in diagram LA2 above use leaf springs to locate the axle and support the vehicle. Separate shocks are used to dampen oscillations.

Link suspensions Diagram LA1 use links that allow suspension movement vertically, but limit that movement longitudinally front-back and laterally left-right. Torque arms suspensions use a long arm compared with link type suspensions, which enables the torque applied to the axle to be controlled in a different manner.

All these sub-types and more essentially try to keep the wheels planted on the ground, as free of oscillations and wheel hop as possible, and as straight and true with the direction of the vehicle as possible.

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Just as with front suspension, the unequal length double wishbone suspension can be used for rear wheels. The flexibility in the design of the suspension geometry allows the rear suspension to be matched to the front suspension, and each wheel tuned independently.

Diagram UEL2. In vehicles where wheels and suspension can enter the vehicle when broken i. Driver situated beside suspension mountssafety can be increased through anti-intrusion panels that will deflect broken wishbones or links. Radial tires are more tolerant of static negative camber, or camber that is built into the suspension.

Radial tires will work better with this situation.I am attempting to utilize your calculator and am puzzled as to where to edit dimensions. Any help is appreciated. I want to do a comparison of a stock Chevy versus a C4 Corvette to visually see the difference. Any help will be appreciated. Below are the dimensions I have so far. Stock Tri5 suspension measurements:. Lower a-arm pivot spacing Classic Suspension Geometry Calculator. I'm not planning on subscribing.

Get more functionality by logging in. If you don't have an account register here. Settings drag the icons to change pickup points Camber degrees Upper wishbone length mm Upper wishbone angle degrees Lower wishbone length mm Lower wishbone angle degrees Distance between mounting points on hub mm Distance between mounting points on chassis mm SAL distance between the intersection of wishbones and the hub mm.

Description The classic version of the suspension geometry calculator. It is simplicity itself and a great place to start learning about suspension geometry. With this calculator you will see how bump and droop can affect camber. This model is set as private. Pressing the icon will enable it to be shared with other people.

Tags sgc. Comments 2. Racing Aspirations February 23, at pm. NickPPJr February 23, at pm. Download the App. Related Posts. Tags: sgcsuspension. Tags: sgc. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Settings drag the icons to change pickup points. SAL distance between the intersection of wishbones and the hub. Saving will generate shortlink.

NickPPJr February 23, at pm I am attempting to utilize your calculator and am puzzled as to where to edit dimensions. Stock Tri5 suspension measurements: Lower a-arm pivot spacing Copy of Experimental Susp by hckygoalie29 on April 7, Tags: sgcsuspension.Of course, one aims to avoid compromise in any direction, but inevitably some criteria will be given priority over others. The most important of these are:. But while mechanics and bean-counters may not like it, I feel that non-performance-related factors such as ergonomics and cost must be secondary on a vehicle for which performance is the prime objective.

More surprising to some will be the secondary priority I give to geometry, and I discuss that later, but I should emphasise that if Priority one equalsthen Priority two equals in other words, everything matters.

Front End Geometry

Compared to a single seater, where the rotating tyres have a major and largely immutable influence, the enveloping bodywork of a prototype has much greater aerodynamic, and therefore performance, significance. Together, the regulations and the aero programme will define the volumes available for the front suspension, whereas the rear suspension will be controlled by the structure and the aerodynamics. On my last design, the Lister Storm LMP — which is my reference throughout this article — I chose to take the cooling air for both radiators and front brakes through the front suspension.

To minimise blockage from suspension members and to clear the front brake scoops, there was a large vertical separation between top and bottom wishbones, the top wishbone positioned as high as possible within the inch diameter wheel rim. That had other beneficial effects, such as reducing the loads in the wishbones, aligning the wishbone load paths with the top and bottom skins of the footwell the minimum height is controlled by regulationand allowing a reasonably vertical angle for the pullrod.

10 key factors in Suspension Design

Pullrod actuation is unconventional in modern sportscar terms, but I chose it for a number of reasons. From a packaging point of view, it meant that I could fill a vacant volume with springs and dampers while keeping the bonnet line usually raised to cover pushrod-operated dampers very low.

The double-shear rocker pivot is also rather lighter than the usual single-shear pushrod type, and feeds its loads directly into the stiff intersection of footwell side and floor.

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The pullrod is steep and short, and can therefore be small in cross section. Obviously, the compressive loads seen by a pullrod are small, so that buckling is not a concern, and a small cross section is beneficial since the pullrod is in the cooling airflow.

The main trade-off was of course with ergonomics, where the pushrod arrangement is unbeatable. Also, I was rather constricted in the length of damper, and hence the motion ratio, I could use.

For a Prototype, I would prefer around 0. I also traded off suspension link length for the reduction in bonnet height allowed by the use of pullrods. Since the footwell must be a minimum of around mm Either of those options compromised the chassis structure too much, so I chose a short FLWB, the inboard mountings of which are bolted to the bottom corner of the footwell.

That decision having been made, the FTWB length became easy to define. My attitude to suspension geometry is pragmatic, and, in the absence of the requisite tools, fairly untrammelled by science. For example: roll centres are in actuality force-dependent, not geometry-dependent, and therefore require more sophisticated analysis tools than were available to me.

Using the expertise of industry professionals, we look in detail at racecar design and innovation, whilst also keeping you up to date with news and developments from all the major race series across the globe. Racecar Engineering. Home Articles 10 key factors in Suspension Design. The most important of these are: Installation stiffness Car packaging aerodynamics, chassis structure and regulation requirements Cg height Unsprung weight Cooling brakes and bearings.

Other, secondary, priorities include — in no particular order: Cost Ergonomics Design resources Motion ratio Geometry Other designers will perhaps have different views on these priorities. IndyCar 3D scanning. I consent to receiving monthly updates from Racecar Engineering.Suspension Geometry Calculator. I'm not planning on subscribing. Get more functionality by logging in. If you don't have an account register here. If you are having problems understanding the terminology a glossary of terms is available here.

If you want to use this calculator ad freeenable unlimited private modelsenable more reporting options and work offline using the Android or iPad apps, please subscribe using PayPal button. For more information open the Feature Matrix. Full Access 5 days. Monthly Subscription. Full Access 28 days. I have a code. If you have received a code enter it and click subscribe for info. Switch currency? Description Quickly and easily see the affect movement has on your suspension set-up and adjust on the fly using the drag and drop editor.

This model is set as private.

race car suspension geometry

Pressing the icon will enable it to be shared with other people. Instructions First, let's start by looking at the suspension movement and the tools available to make your life easier: The chassis movement control allows you to raise and lower the chassis and also rotate the chassis by moving the mouse or your finger side to side. The chassis always returns to the static position when releasing the mouse. As you move the chassis notice the variations are displayed within the calculator.

If you are logged in you will also notice the roll center and instant centers are also displayed. If the chassis rotation becomes an annoyance you can disable the rotation function by pressing this button. When rotation is disabled the button is displayed with a strike through. Click here to test the toggle rotation function.

Moving this icon within each of the the tires up and down allows you to test movement of each wheel individually to simulate travelling of uneven ground. The wheels always return to the static position when releasing the mouse.

If ever you see the explosion it means that a clash or breakage would occur. This could be the chassis hitting the ground, a control arm hitting a wheel or a control arm being stretched to the point it would break. You can use this as a gauge to work out the extents of the suspension travel. You can use the plus and minus buttons to zoom in and out of the drawing when analyzing and when editing the model.

You can pan the drawing by clicking and dragging but if panning becomes an annoyance you can disable it by pressing this button. When panning is disabled the button is displayed with a strike through. Click here to test the toggle panning function. After zooming in and out and panning the drawing you may want to quickly return to a full view of the model.

The zoom extents button centers the model and zooms it to the point you can see the entire model within the calculator. At some point you will want to enter your own suspension geometry data or even just just view the current model in more detail. Pressing the edit button immediately switches to edit mode listing more details about the dimensions of the model and allowing you to alter the model by dragging any of the tether points.

Click here to test the toggle edit mode function. If dragging the tether points in edit mode isn't accurate enough for you or you have specific dimensions you want to enter you can you the form input. Enter as much or as little information as you like and the calculator will validate the data then apply it to the model.

Click here to test the form input.Many versions of suspension have been created over time to resolve deficiencies, but in general they all seek to control the movement of the tires in three ways:.

race car suspension geometry

As the first point of contact with the road, the tires work in conjunction with the suspension geometry and weight transfer dynamics to provide grip. Many different types of tires exist, but every tire relies upon its contact patch with the road Shown in diagram T1 below to create the friction needed. Generally, the larger the contact patch, the larger the amount of friction created. Diagram T1. Tire contact patch which contacts the road surface.

This coefficient indicates the lateral grip the tire is capable of providing for a given weight being placed on it.

10 key factors in Suspension Design

Racing slicks tires with no tread are very high Cf tires, in the range of 1. Street treaded radials, on the other hand, rarely even approach a 1.

race car suspension geometry

If you were to place lbs weight onto a tire with a Cf of 1. Without aerodynamic aids to add to apply further weight to the tire, the vehicle could almost achieve a 1G turn.

The wheel is what the tire mounts on and each type of wheel has its own particular characteristics depending on its width, diameter and construction materials. Alloy wheels can be constructed to very minimal weights, as alloying materials such as aluminum and magnesium can be used. They are also generally much more expensive than their steel counterparts, but they also lack the dent resistance of steel wheels. An alloy wheel, when struck by a curb will sometimes shatter and crack.

Nonetheless, for most motorsports series and street vehicles, alloys are the choice. Steel wheels can also be constructed to very low weights and their cost is quite a bit less than the alloys, due mostly to lower cost construction. Steel wheels are deformable when struck, and will usually allow air to leak out of the tire, as opposed to shattering. Diagram WH1. Wheel offset is the distance, positive or negative from the wheel center line when viewed from the front.

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