Racers are always looking for the edge. They need to find the advantage that will make their car's performance reach its peak. In some cases, the advantage rests in the material used to build a part.
Through research and development, Hyperco has created a leaf spring made of an epoxy matrix material that offers performance advantages over the standard steel spring. This composite material has been put through extreme tests and come away with remarkable results.
By nature, materials tend to gravitate toward their state of rest. Steel that started its life as flat stock will want to come back to that state over time, which isn't good news if it has been formed into a leaf-spring bundle. With the epoxy matrix, the material starts out in the curved stage and knows that position as its state of rest. "This material doesn't torque and doesn't get camber into it," says Kelly Falls of Hyperco. The epoxy matrix material is also an impressive 70-percent lighter than steel.
On Track R&D The idea for the Hyperco composite springs came through the dirt Late Model world, where steel leaf springs were tortured almost to the point of non-use. Company officials met with some top teams, who tried out the composite springs. Driver feedback was positive about the new springs, and the subsequent test of the springs back at the factory after use confirmed their ability to withstand the rigors.
During the '02 racing season, an Iowa Late Model driver took a set of springs that had been tested for 40 races, then added another 30 races on top of that. The springs were removed and checked by the driver to find the spring rate and the arch to be the same after 70 races as the first day of installation.
Benefits The real benefit from this has come to series requiring harder tires and lower horsepower engines. In UMP and AMRA Modifieds as well as Street Stock applications, drivers are finding that the springs hold up well, providing much longer life (as much as five times greater than steel, according to Hyperco).
Driver feedback has revealed that competitors feel it is easier to find the setup window with a leaf-spring car than perhaps with a four-bar car. A lot of racers run competitively, but it is not a part that makes you quicker just because you bolt it on. The durability and consistency of the spring allows the driver to grow with the car and be more comfortable. As time goes on, he or she will not see a reduction in performance from the springs because the epoxy matrix unit holds its shape and rate.
Even in the 21st century, there's still an aversion to the idea of composite materials. Sanctioning bodies have not been quick to embrace them, partly because of the cost. Part of the problem rests with a fiberglass spring offered some years back that was unreliable. This material is better developed with lessons learned through aerospace applications. Proper maintenance and installation can provide worry-free performance.
The certainty of spring performance translates to peace of mind in the driver's compartment and fewer headaches in the pit area. Hyperco's composite epoxy matrix leaf spring can give drivers that elusive, competitive edge.
Hyperco High Performance Components