Citroen WRC suspension the cause of success?
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Default Citroen WRC suspension the cause of success?

    In all the words written about the Citroen WRC/Loeb whitewash, there has been no mention of the suspension system that they use.

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    My understanding is that they have licenseds a W.A company for a passive self-levelling system for the WRC car.

    I know Loeb isn't just your average performer, but it seems to me that the stability of the car is remarkable and a step or two above all others in the competition.

    Is the suspension the cause?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryC
    In all the words written about the Citroen WRC/Loeb whitewash, there has been no mention of the suspension system that they use.

    My understanding is that they have licenseds a W.A company for a passive self-levelling system for the WRC car.

    I know Loeb isn't just your average performer, but it seems to me that the stability of the car is remarkable and a step or two above all others in the competition.

    Is the suspension the cause?

    Perhaps, I'm not so sure though. If we take his teammates over the years, no one has held a candle to Loeb. Duval is no slouch but this year has failed to perform for whatever reasons. Generally speaking, if a car is so superior, then the drivers are generally both fast. A good example of this is Gronholm and Martin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryC
    In all the words written about the Citroen WRC/Loeb whitewash, there has been no mention of the suspension system that they use.

    My understanding is that they have licenseds a W.A company for a passive self-levelling system for the WRC car.

    I know Loeb isn't just your average performer, but it seems to me that the stability of the car is remarkable and a step or two above all others in the competition.

    Is the suspension the cause?
    Yeah I'd heard about that as well but didn't know they had actually implemented it. I'd love to see some more info behind the tech of it all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryC
    Is the suspension the cause?
    Well it is banned from the end of the season. http://www.kinetic.au.com/
    Cheers Simon
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    Quote Originally Posted by PLAYLIFE
    Perhaps, I'm not so sure though. If we take his teammates over the years, no one has held a candle to Loeb. Duval is no slouch but this year has failed to perform for whatever reasons. Generally speaking, if a car is so superior, then the drivers are generally both fast. A good example of this is Gronholm and Martin.
    In Germany the 307s had the highest speed but it appears Gronholm still hasn't come to terms with driving the car after all those successes in the 206.
    Cheers Simon
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by U Turn
    Yeah I'd heard about that as well but didn't know they had actually implemented it. I'd love to see some more info behind the tech of it all.
    As you can see from the link to the Kinetic website above Citroen have been using the system since they debuted in the WRC 3 years ago with their 1-2-3 win at Monte Carlo.

    Although it uses no electronic "active" components, it is included in the ban next year on any system linking front and rear suspensions. The Kinetic system is mechanical/hydraulic with no input from the driver, so has not been previously considered an "active" system which (I think) were already banned.

    As you are interested in the technology I will try to explain in simple terms my limited knowledge of the system, because you need to be a Rhodes scholar (or at least a mech engineer) to understand the "reasons" it works.

    It was originally (in the late 1980's) designed as an improvement for off-road 4WD's. You may be aware that some serious off-roaders disconnect their anti-roll bars for maximum articulation (up and down movement) of each separate wheel to climb over rocks etc with all wheels staying on the ground (the anti-roll bar limits movement when connected between left & right sides). However, with the anti-roll bars disconnected the vehicle becomes undriveable on tarmac because of the excessive body roll so they must be re-connected for normal driving.

    The Kinetic system, in effect, separates the anti-roll bars at each wheel, and using a central hydraulic cylinder, connects all four wheels hydraulically, in a way which allows full articulation of each indivdual wheel, but limits simultaneous movement of both wheels on the SAME side (front & rear), thus preventing body roll. So the system combines the advantages of maximum wheel movement for off-road but limits body roll when on-road. Best of both worlds.

    How it actually does this remains within the walls of the Kinetic Suspensions company and it is very heavily patented throughout the world, with several variations of the design as described on their website.

    Some years later, as testing progressed, they found that it also worked very well on "high speed" off road driving and this eventually developed into the design for Citroen's WRC car. Citroen had an exclusive licence to use it in WRC for an initial period for evaluation, but this was probably to have been extended to other manufacturers after that period. The fact that of all manufacturers, Citroen, with their high reputation in suspension design, chose to use the Kinetic system after their own comparative testing, is proof enough that it makes a difference. Not necessarily the main reason for their success, but certainly part of the complete package which makes a good rally/race car.

    You may have already noted that Mitsubishi also obtained the licence to use it on their winning Dakar desert rally 4WD's.

    On the production side, the only vehicle currently using a version of the Kinetic sytem is the Lexus Prado 4WD in the USA market only. But to be fitted to any sort of production vehicle is of course very important to this small WA based (but now US owned) company. I am certain that if you keep your ear to the ground, the Kinetic name will pop up in production vehicles over the next few years.

    It is a bit of a shame that Citroen can't use it any more, but at least Kinetic can say "good enough to be banned!".

    Sorry, not very technical, but hopefully interesting.

    Cheers.

  7. #7
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    Default Just the reply I wanted

    Just technical enough

    Well done - I thought this was the case.




    Quote Originally Posted by Fordman
    As you can see from the link to the Kinetic website above Citroen have been using the system since they debuted in the WRC 3 years ago with their 1-2-3 win at Monte Carlo.

    Although it uses no electronic "active" components, it is included in the ban next year on any system linking front and rear suspensions. The Kinetic system is mechanical/hydraulic with no input from the driver, so has not been previously considered an "active" system which (I think) were already banned.

    As you are interested in the technology I will try to explain in simple terms my limited knowledge of the system, because you need to be a Rhodes scholar (or at least a mech engineer) to understand the "reasons" it works.

    It was originally (in the late 1980's) designed as an improvement for off-road 4WD's. You may be aware that some serious off-roaders disconnect their anti-roll bars for maximum articulation (up and down movement) of each separate wheel to climb over rocks etc with all wheels staying on the ground (the anti-roll bar limits movement when connected between left & right sides). However, with the anti-roll bars disconnected the vehicle becomes undriveable on tarmac because of the excessive body roll so they must be re-connected for normal driving.

    The Kinetic system, in effect, separates the anti-roll bars at each wheel, and using a central hydraulic cylinder, connects all four wheels hydraulically, in a way which allows full articulation of each indivdual wheel, but limits simultaneous movement of both wheels on the SAME side (front & rear), thus preventing body roll. So the system combines the advantages of maximum wheel movement for off-road but limits body roll when on-road. Best of both worlds.

    How it actually does this remains within the walls of the Kinetic Suspensions company and it is very heavily patented throughout the world, with several variations of the design as described on their website.

    Some years later, as testing progressed, they found that it also worked very well on "high speed" off road driving and this eventually developed into the design for Citroen's WRC car. Citroen had an exclusive licence to use it in WRC for an initial period for evaluation, but this was probably to have been extended to other manufacturers after that period. The fact that of all manufacturers, Citroen, with their high reputation in suspension design, chose to use the Kinetic system after their own comparative testing, is proof enough that it makes a difference. Not necessarily the main reason for their success, but certainly part of the complete package which makes a good rally/race car.

    You may have already noted that Mitsubishi also obtained the licence to use it on their winning Dakar desert rally 4WD's.

    On the production side, the only vehicle currently using a version of the Kinetic sytem is the Lexus Prado 4WD in the USA market only. But to be fitted to any sort of production vehicle is of course very important to this small WA based (but now US owned) company. I am certain that if you keep your ear to the ground, the Kinetic name will pop up in production vehicles over the next few years.

    It is a bit of a shame that Citroen can't use it any more, but at least Kinetic can say "good enough to be banned!".

    Sorry, not very technical, but hopefully interesting.

    Cheers.

  8. #8
    1000+ Posts U Turn's Avatar
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    Yep I agree, just technical enough. I was wondering how it could allow individual articulation but still limit the suspension compressing in a corner so as to limit roll. So they've managed to link the front and rear so when both want to compress simultaneously, as occurs in a corner, the compression is limited. Pretty clever. Thanks for that Fordman. It will be good when this technology filters down to everyday cars.
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    Cheers Simon
    >8-]

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  10. #10
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    Hope it's built better then their speakers hahahahaha

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    Quote Originally Posted by XTC
    Hope it's built better then their speakers hahahahaha
    No highs or lows, must be Bose!
    Cheers Simon
    >8-]

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  12. #12
    1000+ Posts Fordman's Avatar
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    Default Kinetic Suspension Update

    The current issue of MOTORSPORT NEWS (edition 1 - 14 March 2006) now in the newsagents, has a 2 page update on where Kinetic is going now (possibly Sports/GT racing) - plus a bit of insight into the Citroen WRC affair.

    Also that most of Kinetic's work is now with road car projects for production.

    The magazine also has an article/interview on Renault/Alonso.

    Cheers.
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    [QUOTE=PLAYLIFE]Perhaps, I'm not so sure though. If we take his teammates over the years, no one has held a candle to Loeb. Duval is no slouch but this year has failed to perform for whatever reasons. Generally speaking, if a car is so superior, then the drivers are generally both fast.QUOTE]

    That's true. Loeb/Xsara is still winning and leads the standings with or without kinetic suspension.

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