The first set of tests with the original rear leaf spring suspension was designed to obtain slalom times through a 420-foot course. The course consists of six turns that are 70 feet apart, carefully measured out with cone placement. Two extra cones designate entry and exit from the course. The location of each cone is carefully marked, and if any cone is moved by contact, the run is automatically disqualified. If a cone is touched but it is not moved, then the run counts. The number of seconds it takes to pass through the slalom course is measured, and this time is then divided into the length of the course giving a foot-per-second (fps) measurement. This measurement is then translated into miles-per-hour (i.e. when you are driving 60 miles-per-hour you are traveling at 88 fps). As the car weaves through the course, the slalom gives important information about the car's handling; the quicker you can navigate the course, the better your road-hugging ability. Multiple runs were made, and the Camaro pulled down times as you would expect this high-powered vintage musclecar to do, while exhibiting a fair amount of body roll, which should be cured by the Quadra Link installation.
The Slalom Numbers-Baseline
|Slalom Pass||Speed (mph)|
Our next order of business was the skidpad test. (Please don't try this at your nearest neighborhood intersection). We measured off the correct distance to create a 125-foot-diameter circle and set out the cones for our test. This test is really pretty simple: you run the car in a big circle around the outside of the cones as fast as you can until you can't hold it anymore, and when it finally breaks loose, the V-Box records the g-force number you were at. The time that it takes for our Camaro to travel around the outside of the cones has a direct relationship to its grip or road-holding ability. The better the grip, the faster you can go. All the runs went clean and we logged some pretty impressive numbers, but as I watched the car run I could actually see by the excessive body roll that the times would be a lot better with a modern high-tech suspension. Maybe these guys are onto something. After downloading the data and running it through analysis, we came up with 0.81 g's as our breakaway number.
The final testing obtained some run times for the standing quarter-mile, and our Camaro ran the quarter with decent speed, although the e.t. was not that great considering the amount of wheelspin we had at the start. Our average elapsed time was 15.16 seconds at a speed of 98.62 mph. This is understandable with the stock rear leaf springs still in the car, but since Detroit Speed claims that the QUADRA Link will transfer energy from the drivetrain to the pavement more efficiently and also eliminate wheel hop, we would expect to see significantly lower quarter-mile times once the leaf spring suspension is replaced. Remember, the only change that will be made is the installation of the QUADRA Link. Tires and wheels remain the same, giving us a true A/B comparison test.
With testing completed for the day (and those beautiful Michelins ground up like I expected), we loaded the Camaro into the trailer and headed back to Mooresville. When we return next month, we'll document the installation in detail and present the data from the Part 2 tests. The numbers will tell the story.