RB6 Formula Ford

Solo Heat

»Posted by on Aug 6, 2012 in Current projects and Tech Notes, RB6 Formula Ford | 2 comments

Solo Heat

When a tire is slipping on the pavement as a result of hard cornering, braking, or accelerating, that slipping heats the tread rubber. A tire generates the most grip when that heating is uniform across the width of the tread because every point on the tread generates the same force on the ground. That heating is a good thing because racing tread rubber generates the most grip at a temperature that is higher than ambient. Of course there can be too much of a good thing, too. Autocross tires are designed to perform best at a lower temperature than track racing tires because an autocross run is over before a pace lap is halfway around the track. The common method of measuring tire temperature is a needle probe pyrometer that is stuck into the tread as soon as...

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FARBalls

»Posted by on Apr 28, 2012 in Current projects and Tech Notes, RB6 Formula Ford | Comments Off

FARBalls

Implementing the innovations that I have developed over the years into the front anti-roll bar on my DB-6 turned it into a bizarre looking science project. This is the story of why it looks like that and why it does the things that it does. An anti-roll bar adds roll stiffness to the end of the car that it is attached to. The reason we care so much about bars is that changing the relative roll stiffnesses of the front and rear suspensions is the most effective way to change the cornering balance of the car. The ideal cornering balance is neutral, with the slip angles of the front and rear tires the same while cornering. A neutral balance is faster, easier to control, and easier on the tires than understeer or oversteer. Here is an illustration of a typical...

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Getting back in the saddle

»Posted by on Apr 3, 2012 in Current projects and Tech Notes, RB6 Formula Ford | 1 comment

Getting back in the saddle

Here are my thoughts after a 2 day SCCA road racing driver school that ended a 16 year gap in my competition driving. Hopefully this will help others who are considering getting back into racing. 1. Be humble, and be patient with yourself. You will have to accept the fact that your early days back in competition driving will be really embarrassing, and that grinding the rust off your skills will take serious effort and focus. The alternative to this is major frustration, because you will remember how good you used to be, but you won’t be able to do anything like picking up where you left off. You are starting almost from scratch. Honing your driving skills back to where they were will take many, many months, so don’t think that a one day recovery is...

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Standing on its own feet

»Posted by on Mar 3, 2012 in RB6 Formula Ford | 1 comment

Standing on its own feet

Blogging about the DB-6 project has not been as frequent as I intended. I’m in the final push to completion right now, so almost every available moment is going into getting the car together. I have a hard deadline to meet: the SCCA Super School at Buttonwillow this month. I like hard deadlines because they simplify the problem: You know for sure when you are going to be done. One of the great things about racing is that you get used to working to deadlines that never move. That makes a racer a high-value team member when crunch time arrives. Today marks a major milestone in the resurrection of my DB-6: It’s standing on its own feet. The only remaining milestones are engine start, paint, and on-track action. Right now, I feel a bit like Dr....

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DB-6 Suspension Modifications Part 1

»Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Current projects and Tech Notes, RB6 Formula Ford | 1 comment

DB-6 Suspension Modifications Part 1

Get ready for more “spilling of the beans”! Part 1 of DB-6 Suspension Modifications is about suspension geometry mods. Part 2 will be about hardware modifications. If you don’t have a copy of Think Fast yet, now you have another reason to pick up a copy for yourself. I laid out everything that I consider to be important about race car suspension geometry in Chapter 14, Geometry Goals. If you read this along with the book, you will see that what I told the world in Think Fast is exactly the same as what I actually did with my own race car. Step 1 was measuring the suspension geometry. I did that before disassembling the car. In many cases, I had to use my precision “eyecrometer” to estimate the pivot point dimensions to within...

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“Do you want to drive again?”

»Posted by on Feb 8, 2012 in Current projects and Tech Notes, RB6 Formula Ford | 1 comment

“Do you want to drive again?”

Wow. What a question. My last racing adventure halted in 1996 when I saw the ad in AutoWeek that said Swift was hiring engineers for their start-up CART program. Working with David Bruns at Swift was the job that I always wanted to have, from the moment the company started. I kept sending them resumes from 1983 onward. My adventures in a DB-1 were going really well in ’96. So well in fact that I lapped the whole FF field both days during my final race weekend. Having just finished 4 years working for Jim Hall’s Indycar team, I was well aware that if I got the job at Swift, it would be full time. In professional racing, full time means that you work, and you sleep. Nothing else is on the schedule. I started very strong and rose to the top tier...

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