Here's how the testing proceeded: O'Connell drove with Pfadt in the passenger seat, allowing both men to make mental observations on the Corvette's ride and handling. The Corvette was equipped with data-collection devices, which logged rpm, throttle position, and wheel speeds. "We also installed sensors on all four shocks to measure shock position and velocity, and that was very important for our testing," Pfadt says.
O'Connell drove the Corvette with its factory dampers and sway bars still installed, and with all electronic driver-assist controls turned off. "It was a hugely well-behaved car. However, when you have such a big-horsepower car in manual mode, there's a bit of snappiness," he says.
After baseline runs and data review, Pfadt technicians installed new sway bars, allowing O'Connell and Pfadt to evaluate which rear-bar setting gave them the best combination of body roll, turn-in, and finish on the corner. "Johnny and I really liked the way the sway bars felt, and we only had to try one alternate setting until we were both completely pleased," Pfadt says.
Then the techs installed new shocks, which they revalved after each testing session. This allowed O'Connell and Pfadt to determine which specific valving they felt had the best feel and met the kit's stated goals. "Dampers determine ride comfort and weight transfer front to rear," O'Connell explains. "I wanted a set that did not allow too much weight transfer on the front for corner entry, to adjust for drivers who enter a corner too quickly, and a damper in the rear that would add control under hard acceleration exiting corners."
By the end of the day, the men had found what they were looking for-the right components working in concert with each other to create a Corvette suspension kit O'Connell was proud to put his name on. "Average, everyday Corvette owners are going to love this kit," O'Connell says. "It dramatically improves the Corvette's stock performance on the street and track, and maintains everyday driveability. You not only have my word on it, you have my name on it."
For more information on the Johnny O'Connell Signature Line suspension kit for C5/C6 Corvettes, visit www.pfadtracing.com.