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Going Lightweight - What are the negatives?

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by Robb, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. Robb

    Robb Moderator
    Moderator Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Feb 28, 2004
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    Robb Williamson
    When lightening up a car with Kevlar, fiberglass, and shedding unnecessary extra pounds to get it to "track weight", it obviously can be faster and maybe handle better?

    But what are the negative side effects, if any? Do you lose higher speed stability? Is there a perfect balance or weight to shoot for with each model of car? or as low as you can go is what to shoot for?

    Paging William H and other higher speed junkies...

    Robb Williamson
     
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  3. Ferrari0324

    Ferrari0324 F1 Rookie

    Mar 20, 2004
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    I wouldn't think that a lighter weight would change a cars stability at high speeds. If you changed the aerodynamics than yes of course, but there are many light weight vehicles (koenigsegg, zonda) that are extremely light. Yet they handle amazingly at speeds over 180. Just going to help you get to those higher speeds faster!!
     
  4. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
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    Pete
    Durability. But if cost is not a concern then you can use far superior materials than what Ferrari used and get the durability back and a lighter component.

    Make sure you know what you are doing because lightening something CAN mean it is weaker ... hate to read anywhere about an accident resulting from this process.

    The other thing is that to maintain the chassis balance (as it is) you need to ensure you remove similar weight from each end of the car. In this area you can actually improve the balance ...

    Definitely corner weigh your car after the mods and set correctly to make it stabile, etc.

    Pete's opinion
     
  5. riverflyer

    riverflyer F1 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2003
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    John
    Robb, I cant speak for light weight concerning Ferraris ( have a 550!@!) but I have a (just over 2500lb) Porsche 3.4 996 engined, boxster bodied whip that develops over 325hp and handles better than any car I have driven. There are things I can do with the 550 because of the huge torque and I love the way it handles for its size but weight and balance will win out in handling every time. I think the weight savings(especially unsprung) is one of the cleanest and most productive ways to improve a car. My car has a bunch of kevlar stuff and GT3 kevlar racing seats and some lighter ss exhaust parts and has shed some almost 200lbs. I have not canned the carpets or insulation but do have lighter wheels, tires and rotors and it has added up to much improved handling. How far are you intending to go and what model? John
     
  6. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
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    Pete
    Just adding my further 2cents:

    Unsprung weight = wheels, hubs, brake rotors and calipers and wishbones.
    Sprung weight = car chassis/body, etc.

    Lightening unsprung weight improves grip because it helps keep the wheel/tyre on the ground ... thanks to F=m.a, less mass means less force applied to the car when bump is hit, etc. and thus less to control (think shock absorbers).

    Lightening sprung weight also relates to F=m.a and thus allows the car to change direction, accelerate, decelerate, etc. easier.

    If the safety commitees of the world were more into dodging accidents instead of thinking the accident is inevitable we would have much lighter cars instead of barges with 2 million air bags, etc. ...

    Pete
     
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  8. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    If you significantly reduce the weight of the car, it will sit higher on the same suspension, which you will probably want to lower anyway.
     
  9. Ken

    Ken F1 World Champ

    Oct 19, 2001
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    I would take all that kevlar money and attend a driving school. You'll take more seconds off your lap times by learning how to drive then going nuts with equipment.

    That being said, a car does need to be set up to optimize what you have. This is a VERY complicated area. Top racers, especially NASCAR guys, have the ability to articulate what the car is doing and have the crews make minute adjustments to make them handle better. That is what you need to shoot for: the sophistication to understand what's good and bad about your car and how to improve it. Spring rates, tire pressure, front/rear brake bias....weight is important but not the primary issue.

    Ken
     
  10. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    This is the best advice I've heard in a long time. Listen to Ken.

    I've spent a lot of time on various racetracks, first with Jim Russell's school and later with Skip Barber, and I very highly recommend it.

    You'll be faster, you'll be safer, and you'll have even more fun.

    --Matt
     
  11. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

    Nov 1, 2003
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    the lighter the better, obvious downsides are the expense of carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium & other exotic materials
    another downside of lightweight Could mean the object becomes more fragile. Now if you build it out of CF or Titanium you dont have to worry about fragility but youre back to high cost

    As for high speed stability I think that has more to do with good aerodynamics & a good suspension set up than weight
     
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  13. Robb

    Robb Moderator
    Moderator Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Feb 28, 2004
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    Great comments.

    Thanks for the thoughts guys!

    Hope to see William's light weight 512 sometime on the track.

    Got any video clips?

    Robb Williamson
     
  14. FormulaRacer

    FormulaRacer Formula Junior

    Nov 18, 2003
    261
    All valid comments,espeically the one about learning how to drive rather then getting a fastercar ;)

    However, lighter is NOT 100% always better (in terms of max performance). If you have a 2500lb car thats 70/30 weight dist and a 2900lb car thats 50/50 (assuming its front engine/rwd, or mid engine/rwd) you will most likely have better handling in the 50/50. Just remember if you are removing lots of weight from your car, to remove it in proportion to the overall balance of the car, otherwise you'll have to setup a whole new suspension with different spring rates, sway bar strength, etc.
     
  15. Cavallino Motors

    Cavallino Motors F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    May 31, 2001
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    Martin W.
    Robb biggest negative you have to take pictures of all the parts you are taking off and sit hours on the net putting auctions onto eBay. What a pain in the @@@. Better leave it the way it is!
    :)
     

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