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    Thread: "Adding Lightness"

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      Question "Adding Lightness"

      Here is a pretty interesting test that was done at the top gear test track. Have a read and come back with your comments. The basic premise is Sir Colin Chapman's principle of "adding lightness"
      Saying anymore will spoil the article, so discussions can begin after we get enough views on this thread.
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      Two Top Gear incidents come to mind
      The lightened Jaguar, that flew off the ship, killing Black Stig. It was stripped out and nitroused, and it was fast.

      Second incident is the Renault Espace vs a Mitsubishi Evo challenge.
      The largest gains from the the Espace came when they changed the tires, brakes and suspension, IIRC.
      Which brings me to the question: Wouldnt it be better to mod a car with better tyres, brakes and suspension, rather than mod engine?

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      Yes, tires brakes and suspension make the bigger difference in track times, unless something radical is done to the engine.
      I noticed that most rally esteems have suspension systems as their most pricey mod. Us n00b street ricers go for the engine. Its the wrong approach.
      I was expecting an even bigger difference with weight reduction, but as soon as they started messing around with the tires, i knew the game was up. I was very disappointed.
      The point is, unless weight reduction is done without altering the suspension set up, the rear will behave very poorly.
      So currently, all my weight reduction plans will be limited to me losing some weight, and maybe, a fibreglass bonnet if i can find one that will look stock after painting

      So what and how much can we take out of a car without unsettling it on corners?
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      ripper, the Stig said that he could save 3 secs off the time if the car had been properly set up (it wasnt).
      So properly setting a car + tyres + suspension + brakes > engine mods (provided engine has the potential in the first place)
      That is lesson learnt from the Espace and the above GTi.

      If you just wanna drag, lighten the car, soup up the engine, forget about brakes, ala the Jag. ;-)

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      Another intesting dilema...

      If you plan to soup up the engine, do you do the brakes + suspension, before or after or all at once?

      All at once = break the bank.

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      If the engine has no ooomph factor to begin with, upgrading tyres will only slow it down even more. I am talking about pure acceleration here.

      A good suspension setup will help you "corner" a lot faster but one must realize that most of the *real* cornering is not done at high speeds. IIRC at both the tracks, the max speed I took a corner was around 130kmph (C1 @ MMST) and I am not talking about S curves. Most tight to medium cornering is done at 70-100kmph where you normally use the momentum of the car coupled with deceleration due to braking before entering the corner. That is where suspension and better braking help the most and save you a lot of time compared to a stock car.

      However on the highways, corners aren't so tight and that is when you need more power. Specially on the GQ's.

      Cars like Esteem have more than enough power to accelerate out of corners easily. But the reason they stick to keeping the engines stock is for primarily two reasons:

      1. To keep costs down. Going all out on a NA engine build on a Esteem could cost you as much as 1-1.5L.
      2. To have a level playing field. This way its the driver talent that comes forward, not necessarily the man who could spend the most on mods wins.

      Btw, the current cc to weight ratio winning race esteems are running INSANE engine mods coupled with LSD and the works. Its just that the build details don't get out.

      Comparing track cars and street cars on the same grounds would be very unfair IMO. A street car can never be a good track car and a good track car will never be a decent street car.
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      So what is the ideal way for street setup?

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      For kerala, brakes and suspension first. We dont have long straights in this state.
      elsewhere in india, engine to start with i guess. but brakes and suspension are very close second.
      My 2 cents

      This is how I'll be doing it, if I ever get to start another project car.
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      Quote Originally Posted by mclaren1885
      If the engine has no ooomph factor to begin with, upgrading tyres will only slow it down even more. I am talking about pure acceleration here.

      A good suspension setup will help you "corner" a lot faster but one must realize that most of the *real* cornering is not done at high speeds. IIRC at both the tracks, the max speed I took a corner was around 130kmph (C1 @ MMST) and I am not talking about S curves. Most tight to medium cornering is done at 70-100kmph where you normally use the momentum of the car coupled with deceleration due to braking before entering the corner. That is where suspension and better braking help the most and save you a lot of time compared to a stock car.

      However on the highways, corners aren't so tight and that is when you need more power. Specially on the GQ's.
      Exactly! In real life, you are more worried about highway speeds, which are higher than on track. Sweeping corners taken at 140+ KMs will make you realise why suspension and tyres are more important (of course, provided the engine can propel the car to those speeds).

      Quote Originally Posted by mclaren1885
      Comparing track cars and street cars on the same grounds would be very unfair IMO. A street car can never be a good track car and a good track car will never be a decent street car.
      The Accord is a pretty good example for this. It is very quick on the highway but take it to the track and it will just be a boat! The Elantra is the one that manages a decent balance between highway and track.

      Don't forget, you would also want your highway car to be softly sprung. The last thing you'd want in a long drive is to come back home and remember how many ruts you had to drive over!

      Quote Originally Posted by srijit
      So what is the ideal way for street setup?
      It's quiet tricky really... I'd normally do it this way.... 1. Suspension, 2. Engine, 3. Brakes. Why? Suspension is the most important and stays unaffected mostly (unless you go for an engine swap). As long as there are no major changes on the weight/balance of the car, the suspension once tuned, should be adequate to harness the additional BHP when the updates are done later.

      Second one is the engine, followed by brakes. Normally stock brakes are designed for regular users and an upgraded engine will need more stopping power. It is always better to do the brakes last, so you have a clear picture of what's needed to stop the car with the extra HP.

      These rules are really idealistic..... these do not apply, say, when you are thinking about a FFE and intake, in which case, stock brakes are more or less adequate on most modern cars.

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      Nice point, Sriram.
      Mod the suspension, find out the limits of the stock engine, then mod the engine, uprate the brakes and find out the limits again.

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