How is it possible that one of the two cars that came with my Carrera Digital set is so much easier to handle than the other? If you want to enjoy some head-to-head racing, it is crucial that you both have a car that handles just as good as the other. However with my set, my wife can basically drive the Aston flat out through many corners, while I have to carefully drive on the limit with the ferrari to keep up.
I know, it sound like a lame excuse and I just can´t deal with the fact my wife is better at it. I will not deny it, if my wife were better than I, I would not be very happy about it. BUT: I have driven the Aston myself too. And really it is much much easier to clock in a fast lap. So in order to try to even the balance, I cleaned up the bearings on the Ferrari, ground the tires nice and flat with a bit of sandpaper, while rubbing the rear end on it at full throttle. Cleaned the surface of the tires with clear tape. Bent the contacts down so the front wheels barely touch the track…
The effects are unbelievable, but once I give the Aston the same treatment, it still is better.
That’s not fair!!
I assume that the motor used in both cars is the same (buying in bulk is cheaper, right?), so my feeling tells me there must be a difference in total weight, or the weight distribution of the Aston is more favourable.
Time for a test. So I got out the kitchen scale, which (sort of) measures in single grammes.
What I did is weight the complete vehicle with and without the wedge between the contacts. next I placed the rear wheels on two matchboxes to level it out with the scale and place the front wheels on the scale and then I turned the cars around and measured the weight on the rear wheels.
The measurements yielded the following table in grammes:
|Car||Ferrari 458||Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3|
So what do we learn from all this? For one, my scale is not thát accurate because the weight on the front wheels and the weight on the rear wheels don’t add up to the total weight for the Aston. That is why I did several measurements for each and averaged the values to what is in the table.
Second: The Aston is a bit lighter than the Ferrari. The difference however is so small that I doubt it to have that much of an effect. Especially since both cars will have wheel spin at full throttle, so there is more torque available than can be put to use.
What I found most interesting is that the weight on the rear wheels is equal, but the Aston has less weight on the front wheels. This does fit the theory that the front wheels must have as little contact with the track because of the lack of a differential. Thus in order to corner properly there must be slip in the front wheels. When the pressure on the tires is less, because of less weight on the front wheels, the static friction of the front wheels will be less and slip is induced more easily. It is very possible that the difference in weight distribution is the main cause the Aston Martin drives so much better than the Ferrari. This becomes more obvious if the weight distribution is calculated as percentage of the total weight. As can be seen in the following table:
It must be noted I used the sum of the partial weights for the Aston Martin, not the measured total weight. Otherwise the percentages would not add up.
I will continue this research when I get my hands on more cars than just these, but for now I think the difference in handling is most likely due to the better weight distribution of the Aston Martin.