track day suspension setups - 2004 to 2016 Mazda 3 Forum and Mazdaspeed 3 Forums
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
sin_loki
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track day suspension setups

Since there is only is the auto-x section I figure I post this here.
General track type suspension setups what do you run?

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 04:38 AM
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I've never tracked a FF car (eventually I might... if it rains on my trackday...) so all my advice is based on theory, but the very first question is what kind of freedom are given with the car and what kind of budget? Common knowledge says to really stiffen up the rear end and try to keep the front end relatively soft. The nature of tracks would mean that this happens to a lesser degree than on an autocross though. A car that is well set up for autocross can be very hard to drive on track.


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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Tracking an FWD is new to me, but not suspension setups. my last car, s2k, had 5 setups, street DD, street aggressive, Willow springs int, streets of willow and horse thief mile / auto-x. The budget is in the middle somewhere and want to keep it within time attack "enthusiasts class" Since I don't want to revalve coils again ( pain in the ass) the plan is kw v3's with corksport adjustable camber plates, rear sway bar of some brand, adjustable sway end links, rear camber kit, rear strut bar, and maybe some chassis bracing. I have an local hookup for alinements but 40 for each time they do an adjustment does add up, race shop charges 400 for an corner balance, so I try not swap springs a lot. I think I can deal with more oversteer than understeer, but again first fwd track car so it's a relearning process . Since I don't see 3's at track that often am going with the hit the track with what I got see how it reacts, plus I need an excuse to get rid of the crappy OEM dunlops.

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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 11:02 PM
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All I have ever owned is FF cars. I have driven Rear wheel drive but never owned. Some people hate the torque steer and the fact that the wheel tries to wrestle itself from you. I love it. It's engaging to me and makes it fun. Did you ever have a lot of problems with the rear end of your s2k washing out in the corners?
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by swerv0428 View Post
All I have ever owned is FF cars. I have driven Rear wheel drive but never owned. Some people hate the torque steer and the fact that the wheel tries to wrestle itself from you. I love it. It's engaging to me and makes it fun. Did you ever have a lot of problems with the rear end of your s2k washing out in the corners?
Depends on the setup, the dd setup was for Max tire life, so ya the rear would get a little out there If you pushed, but not a real big deal to bring it back. The street aggressive added more camber a dash of rear toe in to combat vtec power surge due to poor traffic or road conditions. My 01 had no traction or electronic stability control so it was all about throttle control and being smooth on the wheel.

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 12:35 AM
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A driver's car. That must have been a blast. Only bad part about a high hp front wheel drive is you can't stand on it a corner. It tend to not want to turn anymore. Gotta wait till your exiting the corner and nearly straight till you can really get on it.
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 12:48 PM
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From what I have read, for FF you tend to want to stiffen up the rear, possibly more with a thicker anti-roll bar than a huge spring. That makes sense to me as having a much stiffer rear spring would mean the ride frequencies would be shot, which wouldn't be very fun on a daily. Structurally (not suspension), you actually want the front to be very stiff since that'll help keep deflection to a minimum up front. People say you want a relatively soft front suspension wise in roll, so that you get the requisite oversteer biased setup.

One thing I've always wondered about is whether it might actually work to set up the front to be very stiff. It's counter-intuitive, but for a strut car such as the 3, the camber gain is not very good meaning front roll might take you out of the tire's sweet spot. If that's the case, I'm curious whether having the front be stiff in roll would keep them planted better. This does go against conventional wisdom and I think the reason it might not work is you'll end up working the outside tire too hard. Front staggered tires anyone?


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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-12-2015, 02:26 PM
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^^^ I like the theory of stiffening up the front to help with front grip. It does make a big difference on a strut suspension. My experience with strut suspension in the past (MR2) is that stiffer springs give the stiffer end (stiffer than soft stock) more grip contrary to the popular theory that stiffer end gives more grip to the softer end. I believe this is the case because the stock setup has too much body roll for struts and tire contact patch is far from optimal.

From my experience, it is also beneficial to leave the sway bar as small as possible. Stiff springs with properly matched dampers give a lot more grip than stiff sway bars. It also makes the car handle more predictably on many road conditions including wet and dusty/slippery road surfaces because springs allow both sides' tires to do their job more independently. Sway bars overload the outside tire by lifting the weight off the inside tire.

The biggest factor I have found though, is still optimal tire contact patch. Even on soft-ish springs, my old strut based car with enough static camber dialed in can be easier to drive at the limit than a more stiffly setup car with not enough camber. There is something very vague about trying to drive on tires that are about to roll over onto the sidewalls.

I have a question, does anyone have experience with PSS9s on the gen3?
I've been trying to figure out if they can handle more spring rate than their standard 394lb/in and if their damping is digressive enough have good street driving comfort. I wish to make a no front sway bar setup that eliminates corner exit wheel spin and provides very quick steering response.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-12-2015, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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drove it once with the front endlinks removed, that was, a experience for sure.
I run the oem front sway, with adjustable endlinks, 650 lb front springs 400 (for now, 500 is more likely with rear aero) rear and Tri-point .250 race RSB set to the mid setting

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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-12-2015, 07:58 PM
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The real question is, how many teeth do you want to have remaining in your head at the end of the year, and two, what tires do you want to run.

I'm at 450/700lbs setup right now with the hotchkis (heaviest RSB on the market), and it's not enough for me.
Next push since I'm on slicks and now have some aero that will receive updating I'll likely be pushing to 550/900lbs

Went back to stock FSB a few years ago, had a hotchkis front as well, just made the car want to push. It was balanced for sure, but kept lifting inner front and letting it slip until it was flat enough.

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