What Is Suspension?
Suspension in the automotive industry is a system of shocks, springs, uprights and arms that together keep a vehicle suspended above ground on its wheels. A suspension system is usually made up of the following components:
- Spring – This can come in many forms
- Damper – There are many variations to choose from
- Suspension Arms – The positioning and mounting of the arms determine the geometry of the vehicle.
- Upright or Hub – This part mounts the wheel and brakes to the suspension and is the point that all the suspension arms mount to.
- Wheel – The wheel bolts to the upright and connects the tyre to the hub. They come in various diameters, offsets and PCDs (the number of bolt holes and the distance between their centres)
- Tyre – The tyre is the only point of contact with the ground and is responsible for the grip of the vehicle.
The Purpose of Suspension
Suspension within the motorsport and automobile industry serves two main purposes, both of which are fundamental to make a car or vehicle travel as fast as possible, particularly through corners.
The first purpose of suspension is to keep the tyre in contact with the ground at all times and to overcome and absorb any disturbances from uneven ground, cornering forces and acceleration/braking forces. Keeping the tyre in contact with the ground at all times means that the maximum amount of grip is available, allowing the vehicle to corner and accelerate faster and brake harder, resulting in a much faster vehicle.
The other main purpose of suspension is to deliver accurate feedback to the driver so that they can feel exactly how the vehicle is turning and responding to their inputs. This feedback gives the driver confidence in their vehicle and allows them to push harder and drive even faster to the very limits of grip, which is the fastest possible point the vehicle can travel. The feedback also makes the limit of grip clear and smooth, making it a safer line to ride for a good driver.