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Car Setup

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  • Car Setup

    First of all, let me start out by saying that my first season of Ice Racing this year was an absolute blast!!! I had some great help from a lot of friendly people who where very kind in helping a beginner get started. I only ran a few weekends, but I plan to run the whole season next year.

    Anyhow, my question is about car setup. I plan on running front wheel drive cars in the rubber class for the next few years.
    Looking around the paddock it seems that a good setup is tonnes of Castor and Camber. Can you ever have too much of either for ice racing? Is it a good idea?

    What kind of spring rates do you guys suggest relative to street springs and racing springs? Harder then street? or softer? What about the difference form front to back spring rates?

    Also, it looks like it is generally accepted that you should try to put as much weight up front as possible.... does anybody recomend raising the rear ride height to achieve this? Why or why not?

    Any other suggestions would be really appreciated... and thanks again for all you kind help so far.

    Patrick Parato

  • #2
    Nice to see another one hooked,I had camber plates on my stud tire rabbit that I returned to rubber-can't say that extra camber on a rubber car is all that helpfull.Since the grip is low there's little weight transfer therefore minimal body roll means not much static camber is needed.
    Most cars have the camber they do simply because of the ballast weight compressing the spring and giving a little camber gain.Castor on the other hand may prove helpfull since it adds weight to the outside front (along with a little more camber gain when the wheel is turned)so you might not need as much ballast to drag around.
    On my fwd cars I lighten it as much as possible everywhere and then add a relatively small amount of ballast up front-car dependant but its usually less than 150lbs of ballast.I tend to like a little less weight but put it further forward and as low as possible so the front wheels act like a fulcrum,takes a little weight off the rear wheels.
    As for spring rates,haven't played to much with them for rubber(just studs)but keeping things soft is a good idea as the track can get some serious holes/ruts and its better to transfer the weight gently onto each tire.Stiffer springs will transfer the force to the tire quicker-maybe faster than the tire can conform to the surface.
    If your car has a front and rear sway bar do some testing with unhooking the front bar to free the front up and keep some weight on the inside front for better front grip,or add a rear bar from another car to yours if it didn't come with one ie;one from a civic si if you have a dx etc.
    Just my 2 cents,now if you beat me I might get pissy for sharing my ideas!

    BTW there's as many different ideas about car prep as there is weather changes in minden.


    • #3
      I always find it amazing on how far some will go to set up their ice racer. We at Mean Dawg Motorsports do the following:
      At the start of the season, oil change, new plugs, and a full tank of premium gas (ESSO).
      At the end of the season remove the battery.
      That's all, that's it.
      It's how far you want to go/spend to be competitive. As for us, we finished 7 and 8 for the season in Class 13 and even managed to win a race each.
      Our little secret? Tires, soft and fluffy like our women.
      "Love thine enemies, it scares the hell out of them"
      "You never have enough gas until you're on fire!" Ken Schrader NSCS


      • #4
        spend your money on tires. new ones are king.

        I like to move the battery to the back. try and lower the front a tick, and jack up the back. Then usually disconnect the front sway bar.

        And Crusher...if you make it through a season on 1 tank of aren't using the loud pedal enough....I go through hmmm...probably 30-40 Liters a weekend.
        Old School Motorsports


        • #5
          No, we start with one tank of gas. We go through about 3 tanks a season. Did I mention the octane boost? A bottle of that each weekend but not for what you think. We use it so the car will start on those very cold mornings. My whole point here is that you don't have to do much to a car or you can do a ton to it. Your choice but tires are the key. I agree with you Chris, don't skimp on tires. I have a set of blizzaks on the back of my car that are 6 years old and do me just fine. The fronts, well that's another story.
          "Love thine enemies, it scares the hell out of them"
          "You never have enough gas until you're on fire!" Ken Schrader NSCS


          • #6

            2 points that we have found invaluable over the years is wheel alignment. We would do a thorogh one in the comfort of our shop at the beginning of the season then check periodicaly throughout.

            With a FWD racer we think that replacing the rear wheel bearing grease with the Low-temp snomobile kind keeps the rear wheels spinning freely in colder temps.

            Also, make sure that your E Brake releases all the way and does not hang up.
            Ice Racing will always be a Black art! So ... In order to finish first, ... first you must Finish!

            CASC-OR Ice Race Director
            Toronto Autosport Club Ice Race Organizer
            Minden Kin Club Member
            District 8 Secretary Kin Canada
            Car Number 1


            • #7
              Car Setup

              Thanks for all the advice!!!

              I understand completely why most people just strip the car, put in gas, get some good tires and go racing. I love the ice racing because you have a blast, and at then end you don't really care where you finish.... well for me at least.

              I strongly agree that the first thing you should do is get a good set of tires!

              An interesting thing happened this season. I got lapped by Victor Del Col during one race. I then started to follow his line, tyring to use the throttle where he did. What a huge difference!!! I passed three cars and could basically stay behind him the whole time! It was a great feeling! But then the next race was after studs, and when I tried the same thing it all fell apart... and I never got it back for the rest of the races. That brief momement told me that the driving style is probably the most important thing in Ice Racing and that I have a lot to learn about driving before I get picky about car setup. Would you guys agree with that?

              So I guess the answer to my question about setup is: Good Tires, Good Driving, and staying warm.

              Patrick Parato


              • #8
                Sway Bars

                Oh.. I forgot to mention that I have already removed my front sway bar, but did not change anything in the rear. That really helped!

                The wheel bearing grease is an interesting idea, and I would have never thought of that! Thanks!

                Would anybody argue that 150lbs of balast on the front would hurt the acceleration? or does it actually improve it because of grip?

                I am guessing how much ballast you use is something you would need to test/adjust during the season.

                I think I am getting the idea, keep the setup simple, low cost, and fun!

                Patrick Parato


                • #9
                  I am my own ballast!
                  "Love thine enemies, it scares the hell out of them"
                  "You never have enough gas until you're on fire!" Ken Schrader NSCS


                  • #10
                    With regards to how much ballast is enough/not enough it comes down to personal preference alot of times.For kicks I built a series of square tubing welded together and filled with concrete,bolted the sections to the floor pan as far forward as possible and had them so I could remove them in sections for testing.
                    These things weighed about 450lbs total,the car was best with only the front section used-about 125lbs,proved to me that loading the thing up with weight isn't the answer.I also used to run a 4wd honda wagon that had torsion bars up front,I used about 60 or so lbs up front on it.That proved to be too heavy(welded on) as when running counter clockwise I won all but a couple of races that year,going clockwise was a different story and every win was a battle.Seems the car was to heavy when all the corners were right handers,the engine is on that side along with me.
                    I was able to improve the car quite a bit by playing with the corner weights with the torsion bar adjustments,simply put I reduced the static weight on the drivers front corner when running clockwise and set it back for counter clockwise days.
                    If your car has a aluminum engine than you might need a little more weight than a similiar car with an iron block etc.Like I said earlier make the rest of the car as light as possible,then add weight where needed untill the car slows down-then take some out.
                    I notice Andy didn't mention the particular alignment settings he's found to work best!,BTW I've always used a little toe out up front on my cars-right or wrong thats what I do.With fwd you have the luxury of running older/harder tires on the rear and fine tuning the pressure to get the back to rotate the amount your comfortable with.
                    Hope all this helps.


                    • #11

                      Thanks Max Attack... that does help a lot...

                      -Patrick Parato


                      • #12
                        No problem,I don't mind sharing what I've learned over the years-you still need to be able to drive well even with a well sorted car