Speed Tech Performance Track Time Kit - Second to None

Speed Tech Performance’s Track Time Kit Changes the Way ’70– 81 F-bodies Handle for the Better … Without Changing the Whole Car

Chris Shelton Sep 1, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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As it stands, most A-arm front suspensions on rear-drive cars have a little bit of positive scrub radius (the tire centerline lies outboard of the SAI). Dropping a knuckle simply by moving its wheel-mounting point upwards increases the positive scrub radius; however, moving it along the SAI preserves the scrub radius. The same goes for a hub or brake hat that pushes the wheel out: it moves the scrub radius more positive. Speed Tech accounted for that, too.

Camp 1209 07 Stp Track Time Kit Tubular Control 2/17

Speed Tech used the divorced steering arm design to solve another problem associated with scrub radius. Anyone who’s ever tried to bolt wider wheels to a second-gen Camaro can bear testimony that the tie rod location limits rim width and ultimately offset. Most enthusiasts simply fit a wheel with more negative offset (add more of the width to the wheel face). That, too, makes the scrub radius more positive.

Well, Speed Tech worked too hard to preserve geometry just to throw it away on a wheel-offset compromise. So it eliminated the interference between the tie-rod end and the wheel by shortening the steering arm.

Camp 1209 08 Stp Track Time Kit New 3/17

The clearance gained makes it possible to maintain the OEM-style wheel offsets when using wider wheels. For a baseline, consider that GM equipped most first- and second-gen Camaros with wheels that have a 0.25-inch (6.35mm) offset. Speed Tech designed the arm to fit a 17x9.5 wheel with at least 5.5 inches of backspace and a 20x10 wheel with at least 6 inches of backspace. Both examples maintain the same 0.25-inch offset as the OEM wheel. Correct-offset wheels offer another bonus: they’re less likely to interfere with the fender opening.

The shorter arm also speeds up the steering ratio in the same way a numerically lower steering box ratio does. Speed Tech takes it one step further by including in their kit a super-fast Lee Manufacturing 12.7:1 power steering box. But a shorter steering arm has one potentially negative consequence: it increases the angle from the tie rod to the steering arm.

Camp 1209 09 Stp Track Time Kit Ride Tech Coilover 4/17

Increasing that angle reduces the Ackerman effect, the dynamic that lets each steering wheel follow its own radius as the car turns. However, Speed Tech restored that angle and the Ackerman by moving the steering arm’s tie-rod pick-up point away from the car’s centerline.

And remember the bumpsteer issues mentioned? Speed Tech solved that with the revised steering-arm design. Moving the tie-rod mounting point down a smidgen reduced bumpsteer to 0.02-inch at full compression and 0.01-inch at full droop. But it didn’t solve it consistently on all cars.

The reason for the inconsistency is because not all F-bodies were created equal. GM equipped them with different parts depending on model and make (remember the Firebird?). And while those cars may have left the factory with matching parts, they may not have gotten the correct replacements over the years. So instead of accounting for potentially dozens of variations of matched parts, Speed Tech designed its suspension around a particular set of OEM and replacement parts, which it supplies with the kits. It even found the opportunity to correct a flaw inherent in the factory design with an offset idler-arm bracket that levels the drag link.

Though knuckles distinguish Speed Tech’s system, it should be obvious by now that they’re really only a part in an assembly: the kit includes special control arms and two coilover/damper options sprung and tuned specifically for the application. But by engineering everything around those parts, the company has created an entire system where everything works together to achieve a specific goal: superlative handling.

Camp 1209 10 Stp Track Time Kit Damper 5/17

Admittedly, these system-engineered suspensions aren’t a new idea; they’ve evolved to the point that some manufacturers dispense with factory subframes for custom ones. However, this one vastly improves handling by a somewhat traditional way: by preserving the vehicle’s chassis and as many of the OEM-style parts as possible. It’s certainly a factor in purchase price, but it facilitates long-term serviceability.

So you could say the Track Time kit is one that you and your wallet can enjoy.


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