After the sway-bar upgrade,...
After the sway-bar upgrade, the Corvette is already feeling better on the track.
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.
O'Connell and Pfadt discuss...
O'Connell and Pfadt discuss their observations and review the data.
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.
|Johnny O'Connell Signature Line Corvette Suspension
||Gas-charged, non-adjustable monotube design
||35mm hollow front (non-adjustable), 28mm hollow rear (three-way adjustable)
||Length-adjustable end links (front and rear, uses factory mounting hardware), shock-mounting hardware
||Users' guide featuring suspension-setup recommendations by Johnny O'Connell
||Not available at time of print
Pfadt next installs new shocks...
Pfadt next installs new shocks with various valve settings, letting O'Connell choose the set he finds best for performance street driving. O'Connell then pilots the Corvette around the course to make a final evaluation.
This screen capture from the...
This screen capture from the Racepak G2X Pro data-acquisition system shows a comparison between the baseline lap with the Z06's stock suspension and the comparison lap, which took place after Pfadt installed the prototype O'Connell Signature Line kit. The baseline testing shows a time of 1:44.941, whereas the comparison lap time is 1:43.610-an improvement of more than a second. You can also see the map of the track and some of the segment times on the lower section.
Since production pieces weren't...
Since production pieces weren't available at press time, we'll awe you with an engineer's rendition of the Johnny O'Connell Signature Line shocks, which feature a gas-charged, non-adjustable monotube design.
The kit's sway bars will feature...
The kit's sway bars will feature 35mm hollow front (non-adjustable) and 28mm hollow rear (three-way adjustable) construction. O'Connell approved the final visual design of all the major components.
When development was complete,...
When development was complete, O'Connell applied his signature to the Corvette's dash panel to show he was pleased with the prototype testing of his new suspension kit.