Since the selection of Penske Racing Shocks as the new supplier of dampers for Spec Miata, things have been progressing quickly as Penske and Mazda Motorsports prepare to equip Spec Miata racers in time for the first SCCA U.S. Majors Tour of 2019 in January.
“We’ve had the shocks on the shaker rig in North Carolina with three different chassis,” says Steve Horn, Suspension Technician at Penske Racing Shocks. “We’ve also done durability testing – we didn’t anticipate any problems, but we like to do our homework with that. Now we’re gearing up to build a bunch of them.”
Josh Smith, Mazda Motorsports specialist for technical development, says the shaker testing validated the track testing, indicating that all three Spec Miata chassis tested would receive the same benefit from the new shock.
“The largest thing the shaker summary shows is if you start looking at the charts where it goes back and forth between some of the contact patch variation numbers, we’re talking two and three decimal places out for which one is a ‘better’ number,” Smith says. “What that shows us is it’s a larger variation as to who nut-and-bolted the car and what grease is in the swaybar bushing than what shocks were on the car – that’s how close and consistent the shocks are. That’s how even the playing field is going to continue to be. Everybody is going to be elevated equally.”
Another thing the shaker testing showed was how unsettled the car will be riding on the bump stops; the car will respond much better if ride height is set so that the car stays off the bump stops, allowing the suspension to work as intended. See the accompanying video for an example of a curb strike with the car set up to compress to the bump stops vs. keeping the ride height sufficient to keep the car off the stops.