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Discussion Starter #1
What is a “Fast Road Geometry Set-up”?
The term fast road set-up is one which is frequently banded about amongst car enthusiasts but let’s look at what it actually means.
Well firstly the term doesn’t have one single meaning, it’s a term used normally by tuning companies to summarise a group of adjustments and/or upgrades that improve a cars characteristics for performance orientated driving but mostly it’s used to describe changes to a cars suspension system. The key point here is that not all fast road set-up’s (FRS’s) are the same and they are certainly not all equal, an FRS is normally just one persons opinion on what is required to improve a car towards performance use, some of these engineer’s base this work on a solid understanding of the sciences involved and a wealth of direct experience, others however do not have these assets and have to just rely on good old trial and error to find something that in their opinion works.
For the enthusiast looking to improve the performance of their car it’s important to understand what’s on offer so that they can be sure that they are getting good value for money from the companies involved and also so that they can choose a service that is right for them personally.
So the average fast road set-up can vary from simply revised settings for the standard suspension set-up all the way up to complete replacement of the entire suspension hardware, adjustment of the cars ride heights and geometry positions.
Who decides the FRS geometry and how?
To understand how the wheel geometry effects vehicle dynamics at large it is unfortunately necessary to understand in depth how a pneumatic tyre works in the way it communicates forces to and from a wheel rim and also the physical mechanisms which allow the tyre to generate the grip in the contact patch which is necessary to actually create those forces. The key point to get across here is that at the FRS level we’re not looking to re-invent the wheel by starting from scratch with the chassis dynamics rather we’re looking to tweak what is there with a view to biasing the handling traits in the direction that we require.
The best method I find is to first start with a problem, or perhaps a list of problems before we start looking for any solutions.
The basic method we use here at Torque Developments looks like this;
1. Speak to the drivers of the cars in question and look for common points of agreement as to the negative aspect of the cars handling
2. Test drive the car ourselves blind before any other technical investigation is carried out, this helps us formulate our own opinions on the chassis behaviour and serves to act as a baseline for future road tests
3. Measure the static chassis geometry (Camber, Caster, Toe)
4. Measure the basic dimensions of the chassis (Wheel bases, axle widths, axle centres and stagger)
5. Measure the kinematic geometry (Toe and Camber gain curves, Ackermann, Scrub Radius and SAI)
6. Measure force generation data from the chassis in a live driving environment via on-board high speed data logging.
7. At this point armed with all of this technical knowledge of the chassis plus the list of complaints and information gained during our own test drive we look at all of the evidence and search for potential causes of our problems
8. After hopefully identifying problematic areas of the set-up at least areas of clear compromise, we then look to make some small adjustments in these key areas and then test to witness the effects
9. If the effects are seen to be nicely in line with our expectation then we can begin zeroing in on the final set-up small steps at a time
10. Once we’ve biased the handling towards our goals and taken care of any negative traits, we then set about final testing the set-up which involves higher mileages and more extreme environments in order to bring any unwanted side effects to the foreground.

As long as no ill effects of our modifications are found we then sign off the fast road set-up and offer it to the customers for feedback, only when both the customer and ourselves are happy with the set-up will we then offer the setup to other owners the same model of car.
Even once we have arrived at a known good FRS we still alter each FRS to best suit the needs and wants of the specific customer in question and every single car is test driven to make sure it is performing exactly as expected before being signed off and handed back to the owner.
 

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2. Test drive the car ourselves blind before any other technical investigation is carried out.

I hope you dont drive peoples cars blindfolded!!!!! or let a blind person drive :p

......

oh wait there was context behind that :)
 
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