An opposing pair of tires (tires on the same axle, at the same end of the car) will develop maximum traction when they are equally loaded. That is a generally true statement that has been made many times in the past in countless publications. A car that is not as fast as others, but neutral in handling, probably does not have a dynamically balanced setup where both ends are working together.

An example of this is when the rear suspension is trying to roll to a greater angle than the front. Excess load will be transferred from the left front to the right front causing more unequal loading of the front tires and therefore less traction.

The car would be tight under this scenario, but to make it neutral in handling, we reduce the crossweight, which unloads the LR and RF making both ends less equally loaded and therefore resulting in less traction for both ends. The car will be neutral in handling, but slower through the turns.

Track Configuration
The shape of the track for both dirt and asphalt can influence the available traction in several different ways. We need to know a little about how the track is banked, how the banking angle is changing entering and coming off the corners and how the radius of the turn might be changing.

A highly banked racetrack is very forgiving when it comes to needing traction for accelerating off the corners. There is so much added loading on the tires from the mechanical downforce of the banking and associated lateral forces, that many times the tires are loaded to the extent that we can't break them loose under normal conditions with a balanced setup. The tracks where we worry about getting off the corners are the ones that are flatter and with less surface grip.

Also, the severity of change in banking angle of the racing surface in the transitions of the track where we are braking into and accelerating off the corners can cause changes to the pitch angle of the chassis that works to unload one or more tires. This can cause more unequal loading and thereby reduce traction.

A track that goes from high banking to low banking fairly quickly can cause the left rear tire to unload quickly making the car loose. There are two ways this can happen. One is when the outside edge of the track drops in elevation and the right front tire follows the drop-off, load will be reduced at the left rear tire causing loss of traction in that tire if the shock rebound setting is too high.

The other problem occurs when the inside edge of the track rises up to match the elevation of the outside edge of the track. As the left front tire rises up, the LF and RR pair of tires becomes more loaded momentarily causing loss of loading in the opposing pair of tires. The loss of crossweight percent (RF to LR) makes the car lose traction in the rear.

A track that has a decreasing radius in the latter portion of one of the turns can cause a car to develop a loose condition at that point. Usually, older tracks that were originally dirt and then paved retain a straight front stretch and a rounded out back "straightaway." This "D" shape causes Turns 1 and 4 to be a smaller radius than Turns 2 and 3 for that reason. So, Turn 4 is difficult to accelerate off of due to the decreasing radius.

Remember we said that traction increases for a set of opposing tires when we increase the angle of attack (simply put, this is when we turn the steering wheel more). If the car is neutral in and through the middle of the turns, then as we approach the tightest portion of the turn past midway, where the radius is less, we need to turn the steering wheel more and that produces more front traction than rear traction.

The balance we enjoyed through the middle of the turn is now upset and the car becomes loose just when we are getting back to the throttle. This causes loss of rear traction. We will study ways to compensate for this later.