Weight Transfer

Weight Transfer

In this video I tackle the enormous topic of weight transfer – the most fundamental racing concept. If you don’t understand this, you might as well go home.

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Video Transcript

[Weight Transfer] Hello again everyone, Matt Covert here again from howtobecomearacecardriver.com. And now we’re going to talk about the holy grail of motorsport knowledge – weight transfer.

This is all about how weight moves around a vehicle in motion and it is the number one most fundamental concept in racing. This is what everything else is based on. If you don’t understand this, boy, we’re going to have some problems coming up. But let’s make sure that we’ve got you covered.

So we’re going to hope right in here. So I’m not going to go over static weight distribution, there’s already a video for that and I will link to that so you can go back and watch it. So I want to jump right into how vehicle, or how weight moves around a vehicle.

So let’s take a look at a vehicle, let’s just say it’s going this way. And let’s say it’s under braking, and you’ve all experienced this before. When a vehicle slows down it has a tendency to squat down in the front. So let’s use the same two thousand race car example from the previous video that I mentioned a few moments ago.

Normally, statically, this vehicle would have a thousand pounds over each axle. But since it’s moving and it’s decelerating, it wouldn’t be weird for the front end of the vehicle to have fifteen hundred and the rear of the vehicle to have five hundred pounds over it. And this is really important to understand because in this state the vehicle is going to handle very differently then it would be if it was going at a steady rate and trying to make a corner. OK?

In this condition it would be a lot easier for a vehicle to, say, go into an oversteer, which is something you really want to think about, OK? And the ultimate place I want to go with this weight transfer, there’s probably going to be several weight transfer videos because there’s so much to talk about, but it wouldn’t be strange for a vehicle going into the same corner as this one and decelerating at the same rate, it wouldn’t be weird for a vehicle to see even more weight over the front, like this.

And this is all, this is something the driver needs to understand because the farther away from balanced a vehicle is, this is less balanced than the last example where we had five hundred and fifteen hundred. And this is something the driver can control. He can go into the same corner with a different weight distribution and this is not ideal for him because it’ll be much easier for him to lose control of the car. The car will be less balanced. And balance equals speed.

He won’t be able to go through the corner as fast if he has shifted more weight to the front, OK? Less weight transfer equals more potential grip and that’s very important to understand. And we’ll get more into it as we go.

And let’s take another, it’s just the opposite example, we’ll look at it real quick. Let’s say a car is going down a straight or coming out of a corner and it’s accelerating and it’s going this way now and the front end is up. You’ll find this in powerful cars, maybe not to so much in the four cylinder ones. But to a degree it still does apply.

OK? In this condition, if there is more weight over the back of the car, it may not be as radical so we’ll just use this example here. Still a two thousand pound car, tons of weight over the back because it’s under acceleration. OK? Now, this is important to know because if you hop on the throttle too soon coming out of a corner and the front end goes up and the rear goes down there’s suddenly a lot less grip over the front end of the car and not’s going to have the same ability to turn as it did when it was more balanced. This car is likely to understeer coming out of a corner if you’re not careful. Especially like the mid engine ones like the MR-2 and stuff like that where weight is already further toward the rear. The 911s, all those ones as well.

OK so this is something you have to keep in mind as well. OK? The key to controlling this type, or to controlling weight transfer, transfer, I can’t even talk, is being smooth. If you can keep a car closer to neutral, I’m going to write it again OK? Balance equals speed. And by balance I’m talking about a car that is closer to fifty, say percent, and fifty percent. A vehicle has the most amount of potential grip when it is balanced.

So any time you change this, if you’re decelerating, of course, the front end is going to have more, and the rear end is going to have less weight. And if you’re accelerating it’s going to be the opposite. The closer you can keep the car to balanced, the more potential traction you’re going to have and that makes more speed. More balance equals speed. I think I’m hammered that enough now.

And this same thing applies, we’ll just take a quick look at lateral weight transfer as well, we’ll just look at the car from the front end or the rear end like this, K? If a car is going into a corner, these should be a little better, you get the idea though. If a car is going into this, if a car is taking a left hand turn, then the weight is going to increase on the outside of the car because it’s leaning this way and it’s going to be a little less weight on the inside.

And this is something else to keep in mind as well. This is all controllable. The ratio or percentage of weight transfer is all up to the driver. All up to the driver. The less weight that he can transfer, how should I say that, let me think of a way to say that better. The less weight that he can control, no I’m not going to say that either. If he can control weight transfer, the better he can control the way weight is moving around a vehicle, the more traction he’ll have. That makes more sense, we’ll, that makes more sense, we can keep going with that.

And it’s also important to understand, and I know we’re kind of getting up here in time on this video, but it’s also really important to understand that you can experience or initiate combinations of all these types of forces, OK? So let’s just do a quick example here before we end.

So if a vehicle is just decelerating, we’ll just write it up here. Let’s say, quick deceleration example again. K? Fifteen hundred, five hundred, like we already talked about. But what if a vehicle is braking and going into a corner? And that is very fast to combine forces. That’s another whole video too, we can get into that. But let’s say that a vehicle is going into a right hand corner. It’s turning this way and force is going out to the outside. But it’s also braking, so it wouldn’t be weird to have a lot of force, let’s just say there’s seven out here. And there’s, let’s say this. Five hundred, five hundred, three hundred. So there’s a lot of stuff going on here, OK? So because the vehicle is turning to the right and slowing down, the weight of the vehicle overall is going this way and that’s why this outside forward wheel has the most amount of weight over it right now. And it’s not uncommon to see that. But you can see how unbalanced this car is going into the corners. Alright? This is something that the driver needs to be able to control at all times. If he brakes too hard or turns in to much, the forces on the, or the weight on the outsides or in the back are going to be too light and that vehicle will have a tendency to be out of control, it won’t be as fast.

So I know I’ve hammered this home a bunch of times now, but the more balanced a vehicle is, the further away it, no, no. The more balanced a vehicle is, the closer it is to being neutral, the better it will handle. And that is all driver skill and it’s all about being smooth, and there is a video in here somewhere about driving smooth and we’ll get to that.

In the meantime if you haven’t been to the Facebook page I encourage you to do that. We post a lot of motorsport culture stuff up there. Some updates about what’s going on the website and all kinds of neat stuff so there’s a link to that all the way down in this section below the video if you’re on the YouTube, the YouTube website. There’s a link to the Facebook page down there. Go check that out, go learn something today. There’s tons of stuff on the website, I’ll link to that as well. Go learn something to day and I’ll be back soon with another video.

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