#2296: Unsprung durch Technik

Everything about car design fascinates me. This evening, I considered this rather silly car and in doing so, it occurred to me that conventional suspension is just daft for certain applications.

As any vehicle hammers down the road or along a track, so its bodywork bounces about atop a collection of springs. Inevitably, much of this motion is not purely elastic and a lot of energy must be lost to the passing airstream in the form of increased turbulence. It must be a particular problem on rough surfaces where the clearance between tyre and bodywork fluctuates wildly.


Today’s invention is a racecar which has no suspension. The axles are rigidly attached to the chassis (allowing almost zero tyre clearance).

The driver sits in a seat which ‘knows’ exactly where, on any given track, it is. This could be achieved using a combination of GPS and trackside signs detected by an onboard camera.

The seat detects, during a few slow practice laps, where all the uneven surface spots are and compensates exactly by driving the seat up and down rapidly, but smoothly (using an electric motor, some tuneable dampers and a small computer). This could even take into account radial tyre compression due to downforce at speed.

Moving the driver about is much more efficient than lifting a large fraction of the whole car, many times per lap.