Racing software has become highly sophisticated and useful. We shouldn't be afraid to use
Today, nearly 100 percent of the U.S. population either owns or has access to a computer. Even the older racers down on the farm are typing away, one finger at a time, to send e-mails and correspond with fellow racers on the many message boards available on the Internet. Advanced communication that spreads the knowledge of racing technology has never been faster or more helpful.
Over the past 20 years, companies have worked to develop software packages to help racers understand their cars and perform calculations and simulations to perfect setups and driving styles.
Some racers are skeptical of using racing software and dislike being told how to set up their cars. Chassis setup is a specialized task, and the process used is somewhat confidential. Knowledge is power, and keeping an open mind may lead to the discovery of small performance improvements. Remember, no racing software program will set up the car, but it will provide critical information to make decisions.
Every software package offers value to the racer. Just like books on racing, all offer helpful routines and information that will aid your effort. If a team bought all of the available software that related to its racing, the total cost would be less than what we might spend on tire testing over a year's time.
Let's take a look at the various software programs that are available and learn a little from the suppliers about how they can benefit your race team.
AutoWare Inc. is a distributor and developer of racing related software. It carries software from other developers such as Racing Innovations and Performance Trends, and "House Brand" programs specifically for circle track racing.
Front Suspension Geometry Pro
Just as the name implies, this is a comprehensive three-dimensional front suspension program. A unique feature of this software is the input screens that have actual photos of suspensions with the required measurements drawn on the photos. The software covers typical parameters such as roll centers and creates a computerized model on your screen. You can then run the suspension through its travel and watch the camber change, side scrub, bumpsteer, caster change, and more right on the screen. It includes graphs and suggestions for changes to your geometry.
Rear Suspension Geometry
This is a software package that addresses three-link suspensions and Late Model four-link (floater)-style rear suspensions. It has the same photographic input as the Front Suspension Geometry Pro software. It creates models on the screen and allows one-wheel bump, body roll, squat and lift motions, tracks pinion angle, fore/aft movement of the wheels, and, most importantly, axle steer for all of these motions.
Computerized Chassis Weights
A calculating machine! This software calculates everything from center of gravity to roll couple distribution. Motion ratios, roll centers, crossweight, and more are addressed. An extremely valuable function is the weight transfer calculations. The software is great for seeing how weight transfer is impacted by banking angle, spring changes, Panhard bar changes, etc.
Tire Temp Analyzer
A cool tool for asphalt racers. This program gives you suggestions for setup changes based on tire temperatures, rim temps, lap times, hot and cold pressures, corner weights, and more. Great when you get a brain freeze at the track and need a jump-start.
Chassis R&D Corporation is a company that has specialized in technology development related to circle track racing for the past 10 years. The company has produced two software packages that assist racers in the setup of their race cars.
Front Geometry Software
This is a two-dimensional program that accurately locates the front roll center in both static and dynamic positions, and calculates the control arm lengths and angles as well as camber changes after the car dives and rolls in the turns. The entire program code was developed and written by the company and addresses the most critical components related to front suspension dynamics.