Race Car Balancing is Vital to Win Races - obp Tech Sessions
October 18, 2012
Hello, how are you today?
In this tech session article I aim to give you the information required so you can understand and set your cars balance under race conditions, and gain the ultimate performance out of your racecar.
A car is balanced when there is no weight being transferred forward, as when you are braking, when there is no weight being transferred to the rear, as when you are accelerating and when there is no lateral weight transfer, as when cornering. This is the cars mechanical balance.
Why do you need a balanced car?
A balanced car will generate more traction and as you are totally aware, more grip / traction the car has the faster you will be able to drive.
Unfortunately the balance of a car is not just getting the mechanical balance correct, you also have the aerodynamics that will alter the balance of the car. With some racecars the aerodynamic down force is affected when the car is not balanced (nose dive, rear squat or roll attitude). In these type of racecars like F1, F2 etc. you will experience dramatic down force variations depending on the relation to the underside of the chassis to the track. Once again the better the car is balanced the more control and grip will be offered to the driver to deliver faster lap times.
How do I balance the car?
You must understand that when you can balance your racecar better than your competition you will instantly have an advantage over them and potentially start to win races.
Balancing your car is achieved by using the cars controls smoothly, not by erratic or abrupt driving that will upset the cars balance. You need to develop an in built sense of the balance of your car at all times when in a race or track scenario. Your footwork is therefore critical. Without smooth, quick and seamless transitions from throttle to brake and brake to throttle the cars balance will be affected.
A great personal sense of balance is the reason why top drivers can carry so much speed through the mid-corner phase. Balancing the car in a way that allows maximum mid-corner speed also has a lot to do with the braking techniques used and hardware in the car like a brake balance pedal box. The reason this is so important is if you stand on the brakes and put the car on its nose during the entry to the corner your cars balance will be all off for the mid section of the corner. However if you brake hard on the approach to the corner will enable you to re-balance the car as you ease off the brakes during the entry phase, your mid corner phase will be fast allowing you to have a fast corner exit.
If you can't make the transition from brake to throttle in the corner seamlessly, you will never be able to carry good mid-corner speed. This seamless brake to throttle transition can be achieved by left foot braking or good heel and toe control.
A seamless transition from brakes to throttle results in a balanced car and fast mid-corner speed, practice your throttle to brake and brake to throttle control until you can do it in such a way that if you had a passenger with a blind fold on they would not be able tell where the braking stops and the throttle starts.
Thank you for your time and enjoy your racing.
Grant Loc has been involved with Motorsports for over 15 years and the Director of obp Ltd. obp Ltd is a major player in Manufacture and Supply of Quality Race Car Products and provides most of the leading Motorsport distributors all over the World. obp manufacture Race Pedal Boxes, Hyd Handbrakes, Alloy Fuel Swirl Pots, Alloy Fuel Tanks, Alloy Dry Oil Tanks, Alloy Header Tanks, Alloy Oil Catch Tanks, Seat Brackets etc. http://www.obpltd.com
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