1. The car and the FAYS2 Watts link were put through driving maneuvers of all types that might be encountered during a race. Beginning laps were conducted at moderate speeds. Lap speed and maneuver speeds were increased over time and with each successive lap and/or maneuver. This procedure was maintained until the car lost traction beyond control, which in all instances was at speeds well in excess of what could be obtained with the panhard set-up. Maneuvers were:
¥ Standing-start acceleration (the good old drag launch) ¥ High speed braking from intermediate up to maximum attainable speed (about 135 mph) ¥ Decreasing curve ¥ Increasing curve ¥ Corners of all types from 90 degree to hairpin ¥ Traditional single cone Slalom ¥ Graduated off-set slalom ¥ Very wide off-set slalom ¥ Large skid-pad (40 meter circle)
2. If I had to sum up the driving experience with a single word, that word would be PRECISE. Before the installation of your Fays2 Watts link, I was carving corners. Now it feels like I am using a scalpel! The effects are astounding and I would not have believed it possible had I not experienced it first hand. Since all my prior experience has been with IRS equipped cars, I was finding the limitations of the live rear axle more than a little burden. Now the car handles as though it has an IRS, possibly even better since the Fays2 Watts link is considerably lighter than an IRS.
¥ All aspects of Weight Transfer have improved. ¥ All aspects of Traction have improved. ¥ Turn-in is much more PRECISE. ¥ Cornering traction has improved beyond all expectations. ¥ Steering is smoother. With the rear tracking the front under corner load transfer compression, fewer corrections are necessary. ¥ Tracking is better by an order of magnitude. It is much easier to hold a line. Much more PRECISE. ¥ Powering out of a turn is much more stable, controllable and PRECISE. ¥ Straight-line acceleration is much smoother and has a much more solid and PRECISE feel to it. ¥ Breaking, whether straight-line or during lateral weight transfer is much more stable, easier to control, more PRECISE. ¥ Traction under hard acceleration has improved. ¥ Traction under hard breaking has improved. ¥ The right rear bias to stiffness, caused by the pan-hard geometry, has entirely disappeared. My expensive suspension system is finally working to it's full potential.
3. Of particular note, I had one, rather spectacular, off-track excursion. During the final maneuver of testing, I was running the wide offset slalom at maximum acceleration in an attempt to break traction, since I had been unable to break traction in prior attempts. At the sixth turn-in, I experienced snap oversteer at approximately 100 mph. I was unable to recover due the high rate of speed, and this led to track departure off the right side of the course with the car pointing 180 degrees back in the direction it came from. This sideways slide through the grass ploughed rather large furrows for about thirty meters and ended with a cloud of dirt and dust over twenty feet in the air. Observers were very impressed with this event. (The tester was also very impressed and needed a quick check to see if fresh underwear were required.) Testing was stopped and the car and the Watts link were examined and all appeared to be well. The car drove fine at highway speeds for over 35 miles back to the shop.
Upon further reflection of this event, I do not believe the Watts link was the cause. I had been warned by the manufacturer of my coil-over suspension to trim the last biscuit off the rear bump-stops if the car was going to be raced. Prior to installing the Watts link, I was unable to achieve enough traction to bottom out the rear suspension, even during a race. But traction was so much better with the Fays2 Watts link that I did in fact bottom out the left rear damper and it was this that caused the snap oversteer.
Regarding damage there was minor damage discovered during removal of the Watts link, that could not really be seen until the link was removed. We found the main PROPELLER BOLT had been bent approximately 2 degress from straight due to the lateral force exerted on the axle during the sideways slide through grass and dirt at high speed. I believe it is a testament to the strength of the components that a .75" diameter hardened bolt actually bent with no effect whatsoever on any other component. I'm not sure you should replace this bolt with an even higher grade, hardened bolt. This occurred due to very unusual circumstances that would be rarely encountered by the majority of users. Further, it's much less expensive, and easier, to replace a bolt than any other component.
The bottom line, I don't know how I ever got along without the FAYS2 Watts Link. It is well beyond any reasonable expectation of improvement and I cannot wait to install the final production version. The only downside to this experience was driving the car after removal of the pre-production prototype. Now that I know what the car is capable of with the FAYS2 Watts link, the driving experience with a pan-hard rod really bites.
Thanks, Steve B.firstname.lastname@example.org