Andy Larkins Engineering chassis and suspension setup flag
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Case Studies  

Below are details on various recent projects that I have worked on, click on the links to read about each of the cars.

• V8 NUT Track Day Car
• Griffith 500 Sprint Car
• 1972 3500m V8
• Speed Trial Cerbera

 

 

V8 NUT Track day car

 

In 2001 I did six track days with my Chimaera 4.0. I found the standard suspension and wheel/tyre combination rolled too much through the corners.

On went a set of 18's with low profile tyres. Much better, but still too much body roll on the twisty bits. A visit to Andy Larkins and everything was sorted.

Two weeks later the car was sitting 35mm lower on its Leda adjustable dampers and stiffer springs, with the geometry set up biased towards track use. Wow, what a difference. The car feels much more 'planted' on the road and safer too. But it's on the track you (and everybody else) notices the difference.There's no body roll, it's much more stable, but best of all a lot more speed can be carried through corners. And lets face it, that's where the fun is. Perhaps that's why I did nineteen track days last year.

 

 

V8 NUT

Griffith 500 sprint car

 

I use my TVR Griffith for sprinting and hillclimbing. Mid-way through the 2001 season, it became clear that the original springs and dampers were past their best. Following a tip, I fitted a new set of Nitron adjustable dampers together with a new set of original specification springs (a springs upgrade was not permitted under championship rules). The result was an improvement on the softer original, but the new settings gave a much harsher 'unforgiving' ride, with difficulty experienced in the rain and on uneven circuits in particular.

Prior to the start of the 2002 season, Andy was recommended to me by a friend. Leaving the car with him for a couple of days, he was able to try various settings to try and overcome the problem of having to use standard springs with the uprated dampers. The optimal setting saw the dampers set mid-way through their range, giving a good range of movement either way and allowing for a wide range of circuit types and conditions. The toe-in and camber were also set more aggressively with track use rather than road use in mind, and tyre pressures were kept low to cater for wet weather.

The new set-up transformed the car's handling, particularly in wet conditions. Less of the constant steering input was needed around corners and the result was a smoother and more forgiving ride which inspired a great deal of confidence. It certainly enabled the limits of adhesion to be explored far more safely than before. Needless to say times across all venues were improved during the year and the final tally for the year was 21 class wins from 32 starts, and several championship class wins.

2002 Class Wins:
BARC/CCC Speed Champs [National]
Guildford Tyres ACSMC Speed Champs [Central Southern]
ACSMC Sprint Champs [Central Southern]

2002 Championship Runner-Up Overall:
AEMC Autoservices of Stanstead Sprint Champs [Eastern]
ASEMC Sprint Champs [South East]
All-Circuit Sprint Champs

2003 Overall Championship Wins:
BARC/CCC Speed Championship
TVR Car Club Speed Championship
Guildford Tyres ACSMC Speed Championship
All Circuit Sprint Championship
AEMC Autohire of Stansted Sprint Championship
ASEMC Speed Championship
LCAMC Sprint Championship

Other 2003 Awards
BARC/CCC Best Hillclimber Trophy
Class win, ACSMC Sprint Championships (there's no overall award)

Key:
BARC = British Automobile Racing Club
CCC = Car & Car Conversions (magazine, now no more!)
ACSMC = Association of Central Southern Motor Clubs
ASEMC = Association of South East Motor Clubs
AEMC = Association of Eastern Motor Clubs
LCAMC = London Counties Association of Motor Clubs


Hill Climbing Griffith

1972 3500m V8

 

I had borrowed Campbell Mac Farlane's be-winged Cerbera last summer and was very impressed, not just for its performance, but also for the way in which such a big car had been made to feel so agile and precise, all through careful suspension tuning. Campbell's car had been set up by Andy Larkins

Setting up my own car was a trickier prospect than on modern TVRs, because there was no known data to go on, for a Rover engined 'M', so Andy's experience was invaluable in determing what needed to be done.

You need the patience of a Saint to do Andy's job. The number of times he stripped the suspension down in order to get everything spot on, to within 1/2 a degree and 1/2 a millimetre, would have driven most of us to drink. It's this attention to detail that makes the difference between winning and losing at World Rally Championship level, I guess. The number of times he's done it means that it doesn't take him forever either, as it would you or me.

Andy suggested Leda damper units for my car. He feels they are a good cost/performance compromise and he has worked with Leda to produce units to his own specification, specifically suited to TVRs, and available only from him. He had a selection of different poundage springs to try, but I can't tell you which we finally chose, because, like most specialists, Andy wants to protect the knowledge which has taken him years to build.

 

1975 3500m V8

Speed trial cerbera

 

I use my cerbera on a daily basis and some speed trials. Whern I drive I need to go fast but had no cofidence with the way the car felt at speed.

I contacted Andy to see if he could do anything with the suspension, two options were available one being a revised geometry setting and the other was completely new suspension. I opted for the new geometry setup to start with.

I collected the car two days later for a road test, the grip and confidence I had in the car was 100% better, I was very pleased with the result.

Andy said new suspension would make the car even better so I had to have it, again a huge improvment no body roll, grip and the confidence now to drive it flat out. On my last outing I clocked up 170mph no problem.

 

Speed Trial Cerbera