The upright is a thing of beauty! In the last two pictures, you can see the extreme steering angle developed which approaches 70 degrees with no wheel wobble or sticking caused by overcentering.
You can see the low profile and minimal offset we have in the upright geometry which will reduce the jacking caused by the steering going through the huge, nearly 70 degrees of lock and subsequent tilting of the wheel. An issue with drift cars is that the steering angles produced are so extreme, problems caused by wheel tilt, bump steer and Ackerman build up at close to full lock becomes an issue that produces handling problems that you would never even bother to think about in a conventional race car. With our team, when we started to look at front suspension geometry focusing on what happens at high steering angles and controlling what the tires are doing in this state versus the typical angles you see in road racing, the better and better we have been able to get the car to work.
With the car put together, it was time to test at Willow Springs International Raceway. Willow Springs has the Balcony drift facility which is basically several acres of flat pavement. When we go testing, we usually leave the car’s bodywork off so it doesn’t get messed up and so we don’t have to be so careful loading it up. It also enables us to get to the suspension and adjust it or modify things many times quicker since nothing is in the way. Alignment is super easy when you can just reach down to get at things. The car kind of looks like a dune buggy this in testing mode!
The Balcony is big enough for us to reach the top of third gear. This isn’t fast enough to simulate a typical Formula Drift course but we can get a basic idea of how the car would work.