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Setup Considerations & Weight Transfer

To adjust the balance, you need to understand a little geometry and physics. If you look at cornering from the standpoint of physics, the car is just going to keep going straight when the track turns unless you have a system to keep it following the road. That system is your steering and suspension and the effects they have on your forward momentum when you put your foot on the brake pedal, the gas pedal, or turn the wheel.

Weight Transfer Theoretically you want the weight equally balanced on all four corners, at all times. That isn't possible in reality, because the dynamics produce weight transfer:to the front under braking; to the rear under acceleration; and to the outside in the corners. Physics is physics. So to "correct" for what actually happens, you want to set the car up to control the transfers you can predict. This is why knowing what you have is critical before you start making changes. The more information, the better. The more complete your records, the better you'll understand the results of your modifications. By keeping set-up sheets which show corner weights, cross weights, side, front and rear weights -- with the driver in and out of the car (the list is really much longer than this) -- you will begin to appreciate the windows of opportunity you are working with as you shift weight, roll centers, and moment arms. Inertial force insists that the car keep going straight even when you have brakes, steering and suspension. The heavier the "body" which is tending to "remain in motion," the harder it is to overcome its natural "agricultural tendencies." When the sideways force overcomes the downward force produced by gravity and the stickiness (friction) of the tires, the car goes sideways. So if you keep the overall weight down, there is better chance of keeping that balance in line. Physics also decrees that when you turn into a corner, the car transfers weight to the outside. There's no way to "reduce" weight transfer once you have a car set up and on the track. Once your sideways momentum overcomes your grip -- whether you're a Formula Ford or a giraffe -- you're going sideways. The key is control.

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