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Thread: Grip

  1. #1

    Default Grip

    Grip is a wonderful thing.
    It keeps you on the road, it allows you to accelerate, turn corners, and then stop again. However, there is a limit to tyre adhesion and this, sir, is the limit of your car. It's vital to have a grasp of the basics of grip to help you drive on the limit.
    Let's think about the contact patch of a tyre - this is the rubber which is actually in contact with the ground at any one time.
    Figure 1: The contact patch of a tyre is relatively small

    This little area of rubber only has a finite amount of grip which it can provide to you, and this can be divided up into the front / back (longitudinal) and side to side (lateral) directions (see Figure 2). Longitudinal grip is used up when you're accelerating or braking, and lateral grip when you're steering. Here's the key point - if you're using up all of your available grip in one direction, you don't have any available in the other. For example, you can find if you're braking hard into a corner you turn the wheel and the car continues straight on - this is because there is no grip available to steer.
    Figure 2: Contact patch showing the direction of a. longitudinal and b. lateral force

    This means you need to get the balance of all these forces right, especially when cornering, but also when accelerating and braking. To maximise the available grip ensure you steer, accelerate and brake as smoothly as you can and it's essential to avoid hard acceleration and braking when in a corner.
    Weight transfers and grip

    As usual, life is not quite as simple as this, and the amount of grip available also depends on a number of other factors - one of which is the amount of weight acting on the wheel. If you decrease the amount of weight acting on the contact patch, this artificially lowers the amount of adhesion available, and vice versa. If you're accelerating hard, you will have less grip at the front end, more if you're braking. Please see the dedicated article on weight transfers for more information.
    Increasing grip

    Grip can be increased in a number of ways, all of which are relatively easy to do. Adding aerodynamic down force such as spoilers, and splitters to a car can increase the amount of available grip by diverting the force of high speed air to your advantage. But beware of cheap spoilers which can be designed as a styling feature only - and if you are planning on fitting an aftermarket spoiler to your car ensure there is enough strength available in the bodywork as some key areas may need reinforcing.
    Secondly, the amount of grip is proportional to the amount of rubber on the road. Swapping your wheels and tyres for wider versions is a good starting point.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Clarksburg, West Virginia, United States

    Default Re: Grip

    another nice post

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