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updated 1/18/2017

Using the Tires to Tune for Grip and Balance

by Paul Haney

tire book cover

For order information, go to this page.

This is a 288-page, hard-bound, book that will explain the complexities of rubber and tires as well as basic vehicle dynamics. Do you know how an anti-roll bar works and why? Do you know what wedge is and does? Do you understand roll centers and how they affect weight transfer? This book will explain those important racing concepts and many others. In an interview Mario Andretti tells how he drove the development of racing slicks and stagger for Big Cars. I'll explain the real reason why his discovery was an accident.

Excerpts from the book have appeared in Sports Car, published by the Sports Car Club of America:

The first excerpt, Rubber Friction, appeared in the January, 2004 issue of Sports Car. Uploaded 1/27/04.

The second excerpt, Tire Behavior, appeared in the February, 2004 issue of Sports Car. Uploaded 2/15/04.

The third excerpt, The Real World, Using Tires, appeared in the March issue of Sports Car. Uploaded 4/3/04.


Here is a very gratifying email I received. This is the reason I spent 5 years working on that book. Thanks, VJ!

"Hello Paul,

I am one of BMW club instructors and I also do club racing. After I
read your last book I had a good idea what I needed to do to my car. I
send you an e-mail end of last year about stiffness of the cage, which
you promptly replied. I just wanted you to know that because of your
book I had four wins in four races this year. The wins came not just
because of the changes to the car, but also because my better
understanding of the suspension gave me a better feel for the car. This
made me a better driver. I wanted to dedicate my last win to you.

I have told many students about your book and your web site.

I also wanted to read your previous book (Inside Racing Technology). I
understand it is out of print. Is there any way I can buy one.

Thanks for your help.

VJ Mirzayan"

Quotes from people who read drafts of the book.

"The book is well written, interesting and fun to read. It fills not a gap, but a good portion of a chasm. I was thrilled at the way Paul brought the technical material to the reader, instead of making the reader come to the material."
- Michael Peterson, Ph.D., Mech. Engr. Dept., U. of Maine.

"I wish I'd written this book! Why do racers know more about spark plugs than they do about tires - the major basis of vehicle performance? It is because secrecy is the rubber industry's most important product. Paul Haney's book delivers the tire info you can't get from race tire technicians - because their companies don't even tell them."
- Kevin Cameron, Technical Editor, Cycle World.

Tires have always been a big mystery and a black art. Paul has figured out some things about tires and racecar handling and explained them so people can understand."
- Mario Andretti.

"Haney has evidentially done his homework. He comes up with practical interpretations of theoretical models and intersperses it all with specialist encounters."
- Dennis Simanaitis, Engineering Editor, Road & Track

And here's a review Dennis Semanaitis wrote in Road & Track magazine for August 2003:

Haney Knows and Tells

If you want to learn about racing tires, there are now three excellent books. Paul Haney's new one, The Racing & High-Performance Tire, fits very nicely with two others we've recommended. It's less rigorously academic than Bill and Doug Milliken's fine Race Car Vehicle Dynamics (reviewed January 1995). And its topics (NASCAR, for instance) differ from those in Peter Wright's excellent Formula 1 Technology (Tech Tidbits, December 2001).

In delving into intricacies, Paul seems to say, "Here's how I figured this out, and you can too," an anti-scholasticism, of sorts, and most refreshing. The book's topics range from quite theoretical (Deformation Friction and Viscoelasticity) to downright practical (Sizing Anti-roll Bars).

Dennis' comments about "less rigorously academic" and "anti-scholasticism" are exactly correct. I have trouble understanding books that are heavy on math and light on explanations, so I use schematic drawings, graphs, interviews, and stories to flesh out explanations.

What I'm hearing from people who are reading the book is it provides them clear explanations that allow them to return to their other book and get more out of them.

A Chapter-By-Chapter Description

Chapter 1, How a Car Turns a Corner, tells why tires are so important and introduces the unique characteristics of the pneumatic tire that allow a vehicle to turn a corner with control at high speed.

The second chapter, Rubber, tells the history of this amazing material and introduces the reader to some of its unique characteristics. Includes explanations of polymers and viscoelasticity.

The way rubber interacts with a surface to produce friction forces is so complex as to deserve the entirety of Chapter 3, Rubber Friction. The viscoelasticity of rubber dominates its friction characteristics. You'll learn about rubber's sensitivity to temperature, sliding speed, surface texture, and vertical loading. Discover the real reason why there's more grip off-line in the rain.

Chapter 4, Rubber Compounding, looks at rubber choices and how carbon loading and the vulcanization process modify rubber characteristics.

Chapter 5, Tire Design and Manufacture, explains material fatigue and modulus of elasticity while describing some design goals and structural variables. You'll learn why inflation pressure is so critically important.

Chapter 6, Tire Behavior, explains how a tire produces lateral force and turns a car. See the importance of camber thrust, induced drag, aligning torque, the friction circle, and load sensitivity. An interview with Jim Hall tells the story of tire development leading to wider treads. Learn the real reason why wide tires produce more grip.

Chapter 7, Balance and Control, explains understeer and oversteer and describes how good drivers maintain control at the limit of adhesion.

Chapter 8, Race Tires, shows how to take tire temperatures; describes scrubbing, blistering, and graining; and discusses tire treatments. Learn about tire "give up" and discover the real reason Firestone was able to beat out Goodyear in the CART series. Al Speyer, Bridgestone-Firestone director of motorsports, tells the dos and don'ts of using racetires.

Chapter 9, Tire Testing and Development, presents interviews with Mario Andretti and Paul Gentilozzi. Mario reveals how he drove the discovery of slicks and stagger for Indy cars. Learn why Michael Schumacher and Ferrari dominate Formula 1 racing using Bridgestone tires. Read an interview with Bridgestone's top tire development manager.

Tire Performance Data, Chapter 10, presents typical data provided by tire manufacturers to some race teams and discusses whether this data is actually useful.

Chapter 11, Basic Vehicle Dynamics, discusses the physics of a car in a corner, describes lateral and longitudinal weight transfer, explains suspension antis, and presents the importance of roll centers and how to calculate the different components of lateral weight transfer.

In Chapter 12, Suspension Geometry, you'll learn the definition and trade-offs of suspension and steering geometry.

The last chapter, Tuning for Grip and Balance, explains how to tune a racecar one level at a time. Learn the difference between spring rate, wheel rate, and tire rate and read how to choose initial spring rates, anti-roll bar rates, and roll center locations. What is geometric stiffness and why is it so important? Learn the importance of wedge and how both anti-roll bars and dampers produce wedge effects that help a car generate grip. See a sequence of tuning changes and how those changes affect tire contact patch forces.

Debunking Myths

Myth 1: The classic equation for friction is Cf = Ff/Fvert. Contact area doesn't matter. Wrong!
The truth is rubber generates friction force in at least three ways, the major components of friction being adhesion, momentary molecular bonding, and deformation, mechanical keying.

Myth 2: Offline in the rain generates more grip because of rubber and oil on the racing line. Wrong!

The truth is the aggregate on the regular line has been worn down and polished. Offline the aggregate is higher and sharper giving more grip due to mechanical keying. Viscous damping in high-hysteresis rain-tire tread rubber exaggerates this phenomenon.

For order information, go to this page.



 The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Paul Haney. No reproduction other than for your own personal use unless full source attribution is quoted. All Rights reserved by Paul Haney, 1999-2017.