ALIGN OF DUTY

We paid a visit to the home of BTCC team, Power Maxed Rac­ing, and met with Chris Dear, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor at Ab­so­lute Align­ment, to find out how to keep your Vauxhall on the straight and nar­row…

Performance Vauxhall - - NEWS - WORDS Dan Furr PHO­TOS Dan Sher­wood

Keep­ing your per­for­mance Vauxhall on the straight and nar­row. Lit­er­ally.

Op­ti­mis­ing align­ment is one of the most im­por­tant fac­tors in en­sur­ing your car per­forms at its best. Whether the Vauxhall you’re driv­ing is heav­ily mod­i­fied or re­tains stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion, poor align­ment can ad­versely af­fect tyre wear, fuel econ­omy, han­dling (in­clud­ing steer­ing re­sponse) and gen­eral ve­hi­cle ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity.

In­flu­enced by the con­di­tion and con­fig­u­ra­tion of sus­pen­sion equip­ment, poor align­ment can be checked and cor­rected at low cost, mak­ing it one of the most ef­fec­tive ways of im­prov­ing the way your car be­haves on the road or track with­out you hav­ing to spend big bucks. Sadly, most own­ers wait un­til their car de­vel­ops prob­lems – pulling from one side of the road to the other or run­ning on tyres with low tread – be­fore they seek a spe­cial­ist to cor­rect align­ment, and even then the per­son charged with car­ry­ing out the work is usu­ally a lo­cal tyre fit­ter read­ing what­ever fac­tory set­tings his com­puter tells him needs to be di­alled-in to the car in ques­tion. The prob­lem with this ap­proach is a com­plete lack of in­put from the car’s owner re­gard­ing pre­ferred driv­ing style, tyre choice, modifications and the en­vi­ron­ment the car is driven in. Af­ter all, while fac­tory-pre­scribed align­ment set­tings might be sat­is­fac­tory for the ma­jor­ity of driv­ers, it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily fol­low that those same set­tings are suit­able for you and your tuned Vauxhall.

In­deed, in the real world, a ‘one size fits all’ so­lu­tion is en­tirely un­sat­is­fac­tory, es­pe­cially if you’ve added up­graded com­po­nents (springs, bushes or dampers) to your car’s sus­pen­sion sys­tem, or if you par­take in dif­fer­ent types of driv­ing – in­clud­ing track days – from the pi­lot’s seat of the Grif­fin you hop into for reg­u­lar road use.

Whether you’ve smacked a pot­hole, fit­ted coilovers, are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing vi­bra­tion through the

steer­ing wheel or sim­ply have no ev­i­dence of align­ment be­ing car­ried out on your car in the re­cent past, it’s a good idea to seek the as­sis­tance of an ac­ces­si­ble align­ment spe­cial­ist (no, not your lo­cal tyre fit­ter!) who can use fac­tory set­tings as a start­ing point, rather than the end goal. With this in mind, we paid a visit to the work­shop of Power Maxed Rac­ing ( pow­er­maxe­drac­ing.com), the man­u­fac­turer-sup­ported Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship team based in Bid­ford-on-Avon. Our Vec­tra VXR has just been kit­ted-out with new bushes and GAZ GHA ad­justable coilovers, mak­ing it the ideal can­di­date for cus­tom align­ment.

Wait­ing to greet us was Chris Dear, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor at Ab­so­lute Align­ment ( ab­so­lutealign­ment.co.uk), the com­pany re­spon­si­ble for the de­sign and man­u­fac­ture of state-ofthe-art 3D, dig­i­tal and Blue­tooth align­ment equip­ment used by topflight mo­tors­port teams and main deal­ers world­wide. At this point you’d be for­given for think­ing we’re liv­ing in fan­tasy land, but the truth of the mat­ter is you can have your Vauxhall’s align­ment sorted by the very same en­gi­neers who work on cham­pi­onship-con­tend­ing BTCC As­tras week in, week out.

Fur­ther­more, the equip­ment used on your car will be the very same Ab­so­lute Align­ment kit used at the track to rad­i­cally re­duce Power Maxed Rac­ing’s lap times. And with prices start­ing as low as £35 for ba­sic front-wheel align­ment, there’s no ex­cuse not to en­sure your trea­sured Grif­fin han­dles flaw­lessly with your per­sonal pref­er­ences and driv­ing style taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

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