RAMP ALIGNMENT TIPS - Derby Tech - August, 1984

by George Brower

This short article is an attempt to bring to your attention three alignment tips to consider when placing a car on the ramp. Not every race permits all, of these, but always look for advantages that are permitted.

1. Car body alignment - Once the fastest way to drive the lane is determined (seldom straight), align the car in that direction. If the body alignment cannot be angled enough to permit a smooth transition from the ramp to the target driving path soon enough, turn the steering wheel towards the target only after forward motion has started (Figure 1). Initial thrust will be lost if the steering is not perfectly straight.

2. Steering alignment - Make it easy to know when the steering system is straight. Eliminate the guesswork. The use of a pin through the steering shaft (Figure 2) or outside markings on the cable and the car body (Figure 3) are quick and effective methods.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Wheel alignment - The main tips on wheel alignment are as follows:

  1. Keep the wheels hot - Place the wheels on the hottest part of ramp. This also applies off the ramp. From the moment the wheels are received until crossing the finish line they should be kept as hot as possible.
  2. Place the wheels as far out on the spindles as possible - The natural tendency is for the wheels to move to the ends of the spindles. This sideways movement is an energy loss. The axles also have more resiliency with the wheels farther from, the axis. This is due to a longer fulcrum (Figure 4).

  3. The wheel heavy spot should not be on the bottom - Place the wheel so the heavy spot is on the top (Figure 5). This position helps impart a quick start. A slow start occurs when the weight is on the bottom.

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