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Suspension Tuning & Optimization: Introduction

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Introduction

04.48

00:00 - My name's Tim White, welcome to the High Performance Academy Motorsport Suspension Fundamentals course.
00:06 Through the following modules, we intend to provide a solid grounding in the fundamental concepts needed to tune your suspension for motorsport applications.
00:14 Whether it's circuit, rally, offroad, drifting or any other type of motorsport done of 4 wheels.
00:21 In order to make this course accessible to a wide range of people we've intentionally stopped short of getting into any complex math or physics.
00:28 Instead, we're going to focus on the most crucial, useful and practical parts of motorsport suspension in order to give you a solid understanding that's going to allow you to drastically improve your vehicle's performance.
00:40 Before we dive into the course, let me give you a little background as to who I am and why I'm worth listening to.
00:46 I initially got involved in motorsport straight after leaving school, spending time working for a workshop building hill climb, rally and circuit racing cars.
00:56 After completing my apprenticeship, I decided I wanted to be involved in higher levels of racing so I went to study full time at university earning a degree in mechanical engineering and then going on to get my masters in fluid dynamics and mechanical design.
01:10 After my studies, I based myself in the US working for a motorsport vehicle dynamics consultancy whose customers spanned large professional race teams, tyre manufacturers and OEMs.
01:21 This was followed by a stint with a motorsport software development company that makes race strategy and data management software.
01:28 Along the way I worked as a data, performance, strategy and race engineer in championships all over the world, including the WEC, IMSA, Blancpain GT series, V8 Supercars and BTCC.
01:42 With prototypes, GTs and touring cars.
01:45 Before I joined High Peformance Academy, I was working as a race engineer in the Australian V8 Supercars series.
01:51 Although I've spent a long time studying and applying my knowledge of motorsport suspension professionally, we've designed this course in a way that makes a lot of the knowledge and skillsets that come from years in the field, accessible and actionable for those who are wanting to step up their game in the motorsport world.
02:07 It's important to understand that motorsport suspension is an enormous topic.
02:11 So while we'll have to cover some theory, we're going to be coming at this from as practical perspective as possible, you won't need an engineering degree to get the most out of this course and I believe that the average amateur racer will gain a huge amount of insight into the motorsport suspension world that'll prove to be incredibly useful for years to come.
02:31 In my experience, the motorsport suspension and aftermarket industry is full of confusing incomplete and contradictory information on the concepts and tuning of motorsport suspension.
02:41 It's almost as though many figures in the industry are intent on making suspension tuning seem like some sort of black magic.
02:48 So in taking this course, we hope to demystify the suspension system by explaining each concept in a practical way.
02:56 We'll be using examples with a number of simplifications along the way in order to keep things clear.
03:01 This is intentional and it'll allow us to convey the fundamental and most important aspects as we describe the behaviour and physics of motorsport suspensions.
03:11 Suspension, like all other parts on a racecar is full of compromise.
03:15 And that means that an advantage in one area will nearly always lead to a disadvantage in another.
03:22 What we're trying to do is find the best balance of these compromises possible with the equipment that we have.
03:28 We're going to start by covering some of the most important and fundamental concepts needed in order to properly understand the lessons in this course.
03:36 Then, we'll move into the discussion of springs, anti roll bars and bump stops, examining what each of these elastic components is designed to do and how they all work.
03:46 We'll then cover some of the fundamentals of motorsport damping, discussing the purpose, working principles and tuning of modern hydraulic dampers.
03:54 Suspension geometry is also covered in some detail, looking at how the most common suspension systems work and some of the important considerations for each.
04:04 Then we'll look at the concept of lateral load transfer distribution which, as we'll see, is one of the cornerstones of tuning your chassis for balance.
04:12 We'll finish the course by covering a wide range of practical skills to show you how to put all of these concepts into action.
04:20 I remember being thoroughly confused early in my career at the practical meanings and application of many motorsport suspension concepts.
04:28 Understanding the hows and whys of motorsport suspension is not only important, it's also extremely satisfying to be able to make logical and effective changes with sound reasoning to improve your performance.