Camber is an important aspect of car setup in motorsport. It refers to the angle of the wheels relative to the ground when viewed from the front or rear of the car. In simple terms, camber is the angle at which the top of the wheel leans in or out compared to the bottom. A wheel with negative camber has its top leaning inward towards the centre of the car, while a wheel with positive camber has its top leaning outward away from the centre of the car.
Camber has a significant effect on a car’s handling, especially during high-speed cornering. A car with negative camber on the front wheels will have more grip on the outside of the tire during cornering. This results in better turn-in and cornering performance as more of the tire’s contact patch is engaged with the road surface. However, too much negative camber can result in excessive tire wear on the inside edge of the tire.
On the other hand, a car with positive camber on the front wheels will have less grip on the outside of the tire during cornering. This can result in understeer and a tendency for the car to push towards the outside of the corner. Positive camber is generally not used for performance driving and is more commonly used in low-speed applications, such as off-road or rock-crawling vehicles.
Camber also affects the car’s straight-line stability. A car with too much negative camber on the rear wheels can cause instability during high-speed straight-line driving. This is because the tire’s contact patch is reduced, resulting in less grip and less directional stability. Conversely, a car with too much positive camber on the rear wheels can result in excessive tire wear on the outside edge of the tire.
To set up a car’s camber for the fastest lap times, it is important to find the optimal camber angle for the specific tire and track conditions. This can be done through trial and error, starting with a known baseline setup and adjusting camber angles incrementally to find the optimal setting. It is important to note that camber is just one aspect of a car’s setup, and changes to other aspects, such as tire pressure, suspension, and aerodynamics, can also have a significant impact on lap times.
During compression, such as when the car is cornering, camber can change due to the suspension geometry. This is because the suspension compresses and the angle of the wheel relative to the ground changes. This can be managed through careful suspension design and setup, including the use of camber gain, which refers to the change in camber angle as the suspension compresses.
To measure camber, a few different tools are commonly used. A camber gauge is a simple tool that attaches to the wheel and provides a visual reading of the camber angle. This is a quick and easy way to measure camber, but it may not provide the most accurate results. For more precise measurements, a digital angle gauge or an alignment machine can be used. These tools provide more accurate readings and can also measure other aspects of the car’s setup, such as toe and caster.
here are some options when choosing a gauge:
|Make||Model||Gauge Type||Price||Brief Description||Rating|
|Longacre||78260||Digital||$152.99||Measures camber and caster, easy to use, backlit display||4.5|
|Allstar Performance||ALL10136||Digital||$149.99||Measures camber, caster, and toe, magnetic adapter for use on any wheel size||4.0|
|Intercomp||100008||Digital||$223.99||Measures camber and caster, includes a case for easy transport, accurate to within 0.1 degrees||4.5|
|Moroso||89560||Analog||$49.99||Measures camber only, easy to read gauge face, durable aluminum construction||3.5|
|QuickCar Racing Products||56-010||Analog||$59.95||Measures camber only, easy to use, fits most wheels up to 15 inches||3.0|
|Joes Racing Products||28200||Analog||$69.95||Measures camber only, easy to read gauge face, fits most wheels up to 15 inches||3.5|
|Proform||67442||Digital||$99.99||Measures camber and caster, easy to use, includes a carrying case||4.0|
|Billet Specialties||77910||Analog||$119.99||Measures camber only, accurate to within 1 degree, aluminum construction||4.0|
The products selected range in price from under $50 to over $200 and offer a mix of features, including measuring camber only or camber and caster, and fitting different wheel sizes. The ratings are based on customer reviews and reflect the overall satisfaction with the product.
In summary, camber is an important aspect of car setup in motorsport. It affects a car’s handling, straight-line stability, and tire wear. Finding the optimal camber angle for a specific tire and track conditions can result in faster lap times. Camber changes during compression, which can be managed through careful suspension design and setup. Camber can be measured using a camber gauge, digital angle gauge, or alignment machine.
- “Understanding Camber in Motorsports” by KW Suspensions
This blog post by KW Suspensions provides a comprehensive overview of camber in motorsport, including the basics of camber, its impact on handling and tire wear, and how to set up camber for different racing applications. It also includes helpful diagrams and examples to illustrate the concepts discussed. KW Suspensions is a well-known brand in the suspension industry and their blog is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about vehicle dynamics and tuning.
- “How to Measure Camber” by Longacre Racing Products
This article by Longacre Racing Products provides a step-by-step guide on how to measure camber using a digital camber gauge. It includes helpful tips on preparing the car and equipment, as well as a demonstration of the gauge in use. Longacre is a trusted manufacturer of racing equipment and their articles are known for their practical advice and clear explanations. This article is particularly useful for those who are new to using a camber gauge or want to improve their technique.