The original intent of the independent front-end suspension was to provide cushion and absorb the energy and force when the front-end makes contact with the track after being up in the air. Our objective was to eliminate or reduce bounce. Eliminating or reducing bounce would yield a significant improvement in pull distance. As the design process began, another objective was to incorporate enough travel that the front wheels would stay on the ground and enable steering with the steering wheel and not the brakes after the front-end lifted. Remember an engine producing 3000ft/lb going thru a 20-1 gear ratio is now applying 30,000ft/lb of torque to each wheel. When you apply the brakes, a portion or all of the torque goes to one wheel. Due to frictional losses of the brake and gearing in the differential, not all torque is applied to the other wheel. Think of the distance gains you could achieve if you could steer with the front wheels and not the brakes. Pullers estimate a 10ft loss per break usage.
Since building the prototype independent front-end suspension, we have confirmed our objectives and discovered many more benefits after track testing.
The constructive criticism I have received so far is: Does it need to be so wide? The answer to this question is yes, at this time. To optimize the shocks and eliminate bump steer, the suspension needs to be wider for correct geometry. Hence, we don’t want the toe changing when the front-end lifts. Remember (steerability) and if more toe is created when the front-end lifts, frictional losses would increase as the tires plow down the track. As a continuous improvement, we are looking into ways to trim a few inches off the width.
Look for the upcoming project named “Tunable Chassis” to be out later this summer.
– Dave Waesch, Owner and Founder Wipe Out Enterprises