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Chassis Handling Tips - How To Fix Basic Handling Problems


The Nuts And Bolts Of Going Fast

After all of the bits and pieces related to chassis setup have been discussed in minute detail and all of the preparation has been completed in the shop, we still have to go to the track and see how all of that worked out.

Too many times, we need to make adjustments and just plain fix the handling problems that crop up.

Now time to lay out some basic rules for tuning our race cars
For a track that averages 100 mph per lap, a 2mph gain at mid-turn represents a 3/10 reduction in lap times. I've seen fast cars run up on the slower cars by 5 mph or more, and that is the half- to full-second difference between First Place and Fifteenth. So, we necessarily start out our handling tuning with the mid-turn balance, both handling and dynamic balance.


If our car isn't too tight, we will just roll through the turns with a slightly greater steering angle and maybe never know we are tight. But, if we are too tight, we will need to input excessive steering angle and we may just over do the adding of front grip from the increased steering angle and change from a car that is tight to one that is loose. Here is what happens.
• Softening the front springs will help the car turn, but to a lesser degree than making rear spring changes. Spring split at the front also has less affect and has more influence on entry characteristics than on mid-turn. More on that later.
• Increase or decrease stagger? This is never an acceptable way to tune the handling of your race car. For every turn, there is an ideal stagger that will allow the car's rear wheels to roll around the radius and not influence the direction the car travels from following that radius.
B. Shocks affect entry Shock rates that restrict movement of one or more corners of the car can negatively affect entry.
Setup changes to solve corner entry problems? We never want to make changes to our spring rates, sway bars, weight distribution, or moment centers to try to solve entry problems. When we do that, we will certainly change our mid-turn handling in a negative way. We should have already tuned the car so that the mid-turn handling was balanced correctly.
Loose Off Condition-Rear Steer
To solve loose off If we know we are good through the middle, then a loose off condition can be solved with the application of rear steer that happens only upon the application of power. Basic rear steer from chassis roll does not help us because it will change our mid-turn handling.
Conclusion
The above suggestions may at first seem like a bit few compared to all of what we know about chassis setup, but remember that we have supposedly already solved the critical issues facing our race car. We have aligned it, checked the moment center design, checked for binding in the suspension, added adjustable shocks, and done all of the other maintenance things we know we should.