How A Racecar Corners Compared To A Motorbike

How A Racecar Corners v A Motorbike

There is an important distinction between how a racecar corners compared to a motorbike.

The primary way of generating cornering force on four wheels is through tyre slip angle. On two wheels the dominant way is through “camber thrust“.

To understand camber thrust think of what happens when you roll a coin along a table; as it slows down and leans over, it will start to circle around. The lean of the coin causes camber thrust and this causes the coin to change direction.

Two-wheeled vehicles, like motorbikes, can be leaned over which allows them to generate their cornering force through camber thrust.

Four-wheeled vehicles can’t lean like two-wheeled ones so they need to generate their cornering force primarily through tyre slip angle instead.

Clearly there is a little overlap as you can add camber to the wheels of a four wheeled vehicle (either static, roll or through compliance) which can generate camber thrust.

It is true camber has an influence on racing cars. Camber is definitely something you would want to tune in your race car setup. However, the main mechanism of generating cornering force with tyres on a racing car is through tyre slip angle.

Next Steps

There is a lot to know about tyres on racing cars. Try these articles to learn more – be sure to sign-up to the newsletter below for the latest race engineering insights from Your Data Driven.

Tyre side slip angle explained (You’ll need an eraser …)

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What should the temperature of your racing car tyres be?

Guide to interpreting tyre temperatures (inc FREE spreadsheet)