As usual, racecars rarely get finished on schedule when you’ve got a day job, but that hasn’t stopped us from burning up weekends (and a little midnight oil on weeknights as well). When we last looked at the Polystrand CRX GT-Lite car, we had just finished creating the new rear framework for the trick IRS assembly. For those of you who haven’t been following the project so far, you can click here to catch up on the first 5 installments of this crazy journey. Without much fanfare, we’re going to jump right back in, since we’ve made a lot of progress since then.
In installment 4 of the Polystrand GT-Lite Project, we made our deadline and had the car ready for a couple of trade shows. Granted, we had some issues that we needed to take care of – we checked the rulebook, and it turns out the wheelbase was a bit too long – and the rear of the unibody was found to have been pushed over to the left about an inch from an on-track incident in the CRX’s storied past. In addition, since we made so many changes, the rear portion of the cage was no longer tied in to anything structural.
As we left off in the previous installment, we’d completed our prototype suspension design, done some analysis on the springs and arms, and sent the dissected chassis off to the body shop to get some much needed love. Now comes the part that is almost as much fun as driving – bringing the design concept to life!
At the end of Part 2 of the Polystrand GT-Lite Project, we had finalized the preliminary design for the independent rear suspension (IRS), generated the CAD model, and sent our CRX off to the bodyshop sans rear suspension. Thanks to Rassini, we had our virtual computer model of the chassis courtesy of Chris Galea’s work with the FARO unit, and Tony Berlingieri prepared the car by removing the old rear suspension and a lot of the now unnecessary supporting structure. Additionally, before the car left on the flatbed, Tony added some framework to which we’ll install the new IRS unit when the car comes back.
When we last left off, the GT-Lite Project CRX was being loaded onto the big orange transporter and headed to the Detroit area and into the capable hands of SANLUIS Rassini. We’re about to take a trip into a place where absolute state-of-the-art hardware and software is used daily in the design and development of suspension systems used worldwide by most of the major OEMs.
The racing environment is an excellent arena for the development of new technology, as it allows for components and systems to be exposed to extreme operating conditions in a controlled environment, and offers a competitive venue that rewards anything that improves performance. Enhanced acceleration, braking, handling, and fuel economy are all properties that are highly valued both on and off the racetrack. To that end, let us introduce the Polystrand GT-Lite Project, a tool designed to allow us to experiment with thermoplastic composite suspension design.