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Practical Corner Weighting: Understeer

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Understeer

04.39

00:00 - One of the advantages of corner weighting your car is the ability to be able to alter the handling balance or improve the handling characteristics which in turn can make the car faster.
00:11 In order to be able to do this though, you first of all need to be able to understand what the car is doing or how it's handling and you also need to be able to decide if the handling trait you're experiencing is a result of an inherent balance issue within the car or if it's being induced by the way you're driving the car or possibly even an alignment issue.
00:31 We're going to investigate within this next set of modules, and we'll start by discussing understeer.
00:37 Understeer is probably one of the most disliked handling characteristics we'll come across in our cars, and particularly if you're taking a street car to the racetrack, you're likely to find that understeer is the predominant handling trait that you'll be dealing with.
00:51 Understeer simply is a situation where the front tyres in the car begin to slide or break traction before the rear tyres.
00:57 You may also hear the term push used to refer to understeer and these terms are interchangeable.
01:03 Understeer occurs when the car doesn't turn and follow the line you're expecting as your turn the steering wheel.
01:09 Instead of following the line you're intending the car will run wide and push towards the outside of the track.
01:15 You can also notice that the car is understeering by the feedback you'll get through the steering wheel.
01:20 When the front tyres are gripping the racetrack, you'll have a reasonable amount of resistance to movement on the steering wheel but when the car begins to understeer, the steering wheel will become lighter, requiring less effort to turn it.
01:31 This lightness of the steering wheel, coupled with a car that's running wider than your intended or expected line, are signs that the car is understeering.
01:40 This is a good time to point out that since the steering wheel is your connection to the front wheels, one of the skills you need to build up is an understanding of what the steering wheel is trying to tell you.
01:50 There's a huge amount of information that can be conveyed to the driver from the steering wheel and interpreting this information let's the driver understand what the front tyres are doing and how much grip is available, allowing the driver to exploit the tyres to their maximum potential.
02:05 In general, understeer is relatively predictable and manageable by the majority of drivers, since the natural instinct is to back off the throttle which transfers weight onto the front tyres which helps reinstate grip and coupled with a reduction in speed, this can reduce or eliminate the understeer.
02:23 This is why understeer is designed into factory road cars as it's much easier for a novice driver to control than oversteer which we'll discuss in the next module.
02:33 One thing a novice driver does need to be mindful of is that natural tendency to continue winding on additional steering lock when the car begins to run wide.
02:43 Since there's no more grip available from the front tyres, no amount of additional steering lock is going to fix the understeer so the car will continue to run wide.
02:52 The danger now is that the front tyres are going to be pointing at a very sharp angle across the track towards the inside of the corner which can result in the car diving erratically across the racetrack when the tyres finally grip again.
03:05 Handling issues can be complex, with many factors adding up to the end result and as we'll discuss shortly, understeer and oversteer can both be a function of how the driver is driving the car as opposed to a balance or setup issue.
03:20 There are also a wide variety of other suspension and alignment changes that can be made in order to reduce or dial out understeer and make the car more neutral.
03:30 That being said, since this course focuses on corner weighting, we'll see how this technique can be used as a tool to improve the handling balance.
03:39 The first aspect to consider is whether the car is understeering equally in left hand and right hand corners and consistently in the same place each lap.
03:49 If there's an imbalance here and the car is worse in one direction than the other, the first place to check would be your left weight and cross weight percentages and make adjustments as required.
03:59 If the car is understeering the same in each direction and assuming that the left weight and cross weight percentages are close to perfect, the next aspect to consider is your rear weight percentage.
04:09 As we've discussed already, there isn't a magic percentage here that every car must have in order to provide optimal handling.
04:16 However moving weight towards the front axle line can promote more front end grip and reduce understeer.
04:23 The can be achieved by either reducing the ride height at the front of the car or alternatively raising the ride height at the rear.