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Technical Articles

In addition to The Successful Race Car Driver, Robert Metcalf has written many articles for major racing publications.  Most of these have dealt with technical issues.  Many racers have commented on these at race tracks across the country explaining how helpful they have been in learning more about the setup of their cars.  In case you might have missed one or would like to refer to it again, some of the more popular articles are available here. Just click on the title to read.  Notice:  We are currently having trouble with the links to the articles below.  We will have this problem corrected soon, so be sure to check back.


Proper Brake Bleeding Techniques  Tips for avoiding the pitfalls that lead to improper brake performance.

Selecting Proper Gear Ratios  If you are running a Hewland or similar gearbox which allows alterations of gear ratio, you have undoubtedly encountered difficult decisions concerning the best ratios to use for a given track.  This article describes four different methods to arrive at the proper ratios.

What's the Diff?  The differential is an often overlooked element of race car chassis setup.  The several types of differentials affect vehicle dynamics in numerous ways, so it is quite important to understand the attributes of each type.  You can use this understanding to adjust your car to maximize a specific differential's strong points and minimize its weaknesses.

Chassis Setup Secrets  This series of seven articles were featured in Sports Car magazine and have become standard texts. alongside Carroll Smith's Tune to Win, for those wanting to understand more of race car engineering and improve setup skills.

       Part 1  Understanding the Fundamentals  Explains the difference between handling and cornering power.  Discusses tire basics, weight transfer, spring and anti-roll bar rates.

       Part 2  Where the Rubber Meets the Road  In depth coverage of the racing tire and how it works.  Explains how a tire produces lateral force, how tire construction alters performance parameters and explains rubber compounds and the ingredients in rubber that alter compounds.

       Part 3  Get a Grip  This article goes even deeper into the racing tire explaining the correlation between compound and temperature.  Also deals with proper techniques for using a pyrometer and how to determine the most efficient camber and tire pressure from tire temps.

       Part 4  The Balancing Act  Determining understeer or oversteer and the proper way to use springs, anti-roll bars, camber and aerodynamics to balance a car to specific tracks, specific turns and drivers.

       Part 5  Stability and Response - Two Things That Make a Driver Great   This article deals with the real world conditions of transitional handling.  Changing conditions such as weight transfer during cornering, braking or acceleration, and weight transfer caused by dips or cresting hills require adjustments to shocks, brake bias, toe, corner weights and others.

       Part 6  Variety in Car Design  Two similar suspensions used in entirely different ways demand different setups.  This article explains how to look at your car in terms of its application to determine proper setup.  Currently available in manuscript format only.

       Part 7  The Hidden Variables  Relationships among the Center of Gravity, Roll Center, Camber Curve and Track Width Change.  What you need to know about your car to make the best decisions concerning how to set it up.

The Mind of the Race Car Driver  An excerpt from The Successful Race Car Driver printed by Sports Car magazine.  Discusses personality, tough-mindedness, aggression and the need to excel, and other factors.  Includes studies on race drivers by psychologists and quotes from A.J. Foyt and Mark Martin, and contrasts the styles of Michael Andretti and Gilles Villeneuve.  To purchase The Successful Race Car Driver, click here.