13. Poor Geometry
A laser alignment system can...
A laser alignment system can help you check alignment of the wheels as well as bumpsteer and Ackermann effect. This is quicker and more accurate than using strings, bumpsteer plates, or turn plates. The beam can be projected well beyond the car and even small errors are multiplied and easily seen.
Last and definitely not the least of our racing jinxes is poor geometry in the chassis. This can be anything from improper moment center location to camber, caster, anti-dive or pro-dive, alignment, and steering system geometry problems. I can't tell you how many times a team has chased its otherwise great setup only to discover that the culprit was a geometry problem.
The most significant geometry problems are: a) excess toe-in or toe-out of the front or rear wheels, b) rearend misalignment, c) excess bumpsteer at the front end, d) roll steer at the rear end, e) excess Ackermann or reverse Ackermann steering effect, f) wrong caster and/or camber settings, and g) improperly designed moment center location that affects the front dynamics as well as the camber change characteristics.
In today's racing, a team must be aware of the geometry issues in its car. Gone are the days when we left it up to the car builder to decide what is right. While it's true that many top car builders are up to speed with all of the technological advances we have experienced over the past 10 years, it's imperative that we absolutely know where our car stands on geometry issues
I can tell you with few exceptions that the winning teams in this day and age know their car inside and out. They apply the technology and develop their own car aside from what everyone else is doing. Above all, they do not follow the leader.
If any of these examples spur you and your team to action and helps you to avoid a costly jinx, then we have done our job. We can always learn from the experiences of others and that is exactly where these stories and examples come from. All of these mistakes have happened in the past and will happen again. Jinxes don't come out of thin air, but rather from our lack of knowledge and attention to detail. That makes them avoidable.