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In-car video of our V8 Elite running against a C3 Corvette on a road course - Elite / Eclat / Excel Chat - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
BrianK

In-car video of our V8 Elite running against a C3 Corvette on a road course

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Some good catches there when the back end steps out lol

Cheers for the vid


A

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Fantastic!!  I'd love to know more about what mods you've made to the front suspension - as part of my restoration I'm building a properly triangulated bottom arm with independent anti-roll bar and "trunnionless" uprights.  Mine is just a road car (sold my 490hp LS1-engined Excel track car a couple of years ago) but I want to be able to experiment with suspension geometry.

Pete

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Another member of our team, Steve (who happens to be a mechanical engineer), designed the new suspension.  I don't know if he's on this board, so I'll pass on what I know.

The stock suspension has the lower arm essentially located, longitudinally, by the swaybar (aside from its own bush).  As the swaybar bushes get sloppy, so too does the location of the lower arm. This was causing us lots of grief, especially considering the loads the front suspension is seeing on track (related side note: our weight distribution is still very close to even - we're at 52/48 F/R, or there abouts. So yes, our front is dealing with more mass than stock, but not crazy amounts more).
IIRC, the stock setup does not have caster adjustment.  With our wider, stickier rubber and lowered suspension, we noticed some rather odd steering forces coming through the wheel - there was a tipping point after which the wheel would not re-center, but instead, would pull toward full-lock.

To solve both issues, Steve created a new mount on the chassis about a foot in front of the OE mount for the lower arm, then added a bar between the end of the lower arm and the new mount (making an A-arm) - the length of that bar is adjustable.  He also replaced the OE lower arm so that its length can also be adjusted. By adjusting the length of either arm, we have camber and/or caster adjustment. Because the main lower arm is now located by the new arm, there's much less tendency for the lower arm to wander. Everything is made out of chromoly and has been trouble-free for, I think, 3 years now. (pics of new lower A-arms attached).

 

The next big issue with the front suspension was with the uprights.  The stock units are just not up to the rigors of endurance racing - at least ours were not. 
After we broke two uprights (on track, at speed), we bought uprated version from Spyder.  Those, unfortunately, were not well made - they had failing welds (also discovered at a race).  After having them re-welded, they did fairly well, but often needed attention. For some reason, we kept eating wheel bearings with them (not sure why - mis-alignment? out-of-round? warped from heat? user error?) and changing bearings is annoyingly fiddly.

To solve the issue of breaking/bending uprights and the horrible job of replacing bearings (that are also difficult to find in the US), we swapped out the Spyder uprights for those from a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria.  The Crown Vic family is ubiquitous in the States - police cars, taxi cabs, official vehicles,  limousines, etc. etc... parts are cheap and available in every parts store in the country. They were heavy vehicles (read: strong uprights) and they have the coolest bearing setup - the bearing is in a cartridge that bolts in/out of the hub.  You can change out the bearings in minutes - including the time required to remove the wheel.

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Thanks very much Brian!  Your suspension looks great.  My setup will retain some rubber/polyurethane as it is a road car, but will be basically the same concept as yours - camber and caster both adjustable.  Your V8 sounds marvelous 😎.

Pete

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Really good write-up and video. Good to see the interior is still definitely a Lotus Elite. Some of these cars modified for track use are stripped down so much their unrecognisable as a specific model any more.

Looking forward to reading more in this thread :)

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