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Center of gravity

Motorsport Wheel Alignment Fundamentals

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Discussion and questions related to the course Motorsport Wheel Alignment Fundamentals

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What effects that I can expect by lowering the car center of gravity? Does it make the car more difficult to roll over or flip if I take a corner too hard? (Provided that I correct my roll center/roll moment).

Good question!

From a motorsport perspective, the most important reason you want to lower the CoG for, is to reduce the lateral and longitudinal weight transfer during cornering and braking respectively.

For a given lateral or longitudinal G force (cornering or braking/accelerating), the weight transfer is a function of only:

-CoG height

-Track width (for cornering) or wheelbase (braking and accelerating)

To reduce the weight transfer you either lower the CoG or increase the track width or wheelbase

Weight transfer is a bad thing because of vertical load sensitivity in tyres. In simplified terms, the effective coefficient of friction of the tyres tends to reduce as you apply more vertical load. Let's take the example of cornering. The outside tyres have weight transferred to them. The outside tyres are now the tyres that have the dominant effect on our handling and grip. The faster we corner (for a given corner radius) the more weight we transfer, which means we are lowering the effective coefficient of friction of the tyres.

So, you can start to see why weight transfer is bad for grip, and why we want to lower to CoG whenever we can!

An important caveat to mention which you brought up:

Lowering the car does lower the CoG. But if you do not correct the roll center, then you will often end up increasing the amount of body roll (note that this is distinctly different from weight transfer). This increase in body roll due to increasing the roll moment will usually offset and CoG gains. Also, it's not just the static roll center we care about correcting, it's also the dynamic one. So, a well-developed roll center correction kit is imperative!

Excellent explanation Tim. I thoroughly understand it now. Thank you 🙏🏻

My pleasure Hairul!

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