THE SCIENCE OF CORNER WEIGHTING
THE SCIENTIFIC ART OF CORNER WEIGHTING A CAR IS OFTEN CONSIDERED THE REALM OF HIGH-END RACE CARS, BUT IN REALITY ANY CAR, RACE OR STREET, CAN BENEFIT FROM A PROPERLY SET UP SUSPENSION PACKAGE AND WEIGHT BALANCE. WE CHAT TO THE GUYS AT J TUNE AUTOMOTIVE TO
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORNER WEIGHTING AND WHY YOUR CAR NEEDS IT
So what is corner weighting you may ask? In the most basic of terms corner weighting uses four scales (one under each wheel) to calculate both the total weight of the car and the weight placed on each wheel, which is passed through the suspension. These figures are then used to calculate the weight distribution of the car (we have all heard about a car having perfect 50/50 weight balance) so we’ll show you how it’s calculated. Weight distribution has the ability to make or break the handling of your car around a circuit. Springs, shocks, sway bars, wheels, and tyres can all have a positive impact on handling but sometimes, without corner weighting, these modifications can have a negative effect. It’s a similar scenario to how a high-performance engine package can fail miserably if you don’t know how to tune the highly-strung combination correctly, or you overlook the basics. So, let’s think of corner weighting as a dyno tune for your suspension components.
As we install different suspension components, complete engine conversions, and remove interior trim, the weight of the vehicle can either increase or decrease and with this comes variance in weight distribution. This difference in weight distribution can cause the vehicle to pull to one side, or turn in one direction better than the other. Even the preloads on brand-new coilovers can be different shock to shock, as can engine conversions such as an RB engine into a Silvia, a K-series into a Honda, or a rotary into a BMW. There are two main aspects to address in order to combat these weight issues: static weight distribution and cross-weight percentage, and when used to correctly distribute weight across the vehicle, it should roll straight on a flat surface.
Here we’ll run through the basics of the theory and then apply this corner weighting to a new Honda Cupbuild race car. As you might expect, there are specialized tweaks that apply to each racing discipline, be it drifting, autocross, drag racing or circuit racing, but here we’ll deal with the fundamentals. Throughout this article we will explain the calculations needed to find weight-percentage values, but in all honesty all corner weighing machines we have used do all these for you, making life much easier.