Next Phase, New Smyrna
On Friday, February 10, there was an open test at New Smyrna Speedway in preparation for the Pete Orr Memorial 100-lap race the next day. We ran the car with Dalton driving and were running the car along with many of the top teams that would run the race.
Right out of the trailer we were turning laps in the 18.0s and no other car there turned in the 17s on used tires. The quickest times were in the 17.6s when a car went out on stickers, so we felt good about both the setup and this arrangement.
The only downside was that at NSS, in the middle of Turns 1 and 2 there is a bump and with the stiff bellows springs we were running, it caused Dalton to wait to get back in the throttle a tad and we felt with softer bellows springs that would ride out that bump better, he might have been able to improve his times by a tenth or so.
What we have tried to demonstrate with these two tests was that not only can we easily setup a car for bump racing using a constant spring rate type of bump, but can also run quicker lap times in doing so.
I feel that with this arrangement and staying on the bumps, the tires maintain a consistent camber angle to the track the entire lap and this provides consistency in grip. It also means that the load distribution stays consistent both due to the car staying on the bumps and elimination of camber change which will redistribute loads somewhat.
We backed up our testing at...
We backed up our testing at New Smyrna because it is a different type of racetrack. Orlando is flatter with shorter straights than NSS. We also ran well and fast at NSS, but maybe could have run a lower rate of bellows spring due to the bump in Turns 1 and 2. All in all, the whole two days of testing provided the information we needed to evaluate running on single rate bumps. It made the setup easy, accurate and consistent.
Where Does All of This Go
By now you are probably wondering, what does this have to do with me? This configuration obviously doesn't work with most of the coilover cars out there racing today. But, Hyperco engineers are now in the process of designing a device that can be installed on the shock shaft and perform much like the configuration in our test. By the time you read this, they will probably have a prototype built with production soon to follow. Not only can this type of bump device be used on asphalt, but select dirt late model teams are experimenting and winning races running on bumpstops at one or more corners of their cars. There is a high possibility that this would work well on those cars too. As I write this, Donnie O'Neil just won the first night of Speedweeks at East Bay Raceway on a right front bumpstop setup that is the rising rate configuration. The ride would be much smoother and less hard on the suspension with this type of bump device.
The new bump device Hyperco is developing will be tested, maybe by CT and probably by others in the industry, to ascertain its benefits. If it performs anything like it did in our test, I can assure you that developing your setups and realizing consistency in handling will come easier with this type of product if you decide to go this route.
This test solved my curiosity about the benefits of running on a consistent rate of bump spring, while also satisfying the needs and wants of the racer in the desire for a low profile, lower CG and less load transfer, and better tire heat distribution and reduced wear. Only time will tell, but from our observations, we can see where this design might revolutionize the industry. I have finally come to like bump racing.