The term “Ackerman” is used to describe a theory of front end setup. It is based on the fact that in a turn, each front wheel rolls on a slightly different radius turn. Ackerman Steering is the theory in setup that turns the left front wheel slightly more than right front wheel. It states that if you turn the left more than the right, you will lower the amount of binding between the front wheels and therefore turn the car better.

Binding in a chassis setup is a bad thing! There are enough forces at work in the chassis that slow you down – you don’t need any more. Some opinions say that since race tires work at large slip angles, setting up your front suspension with Ackerman in it has no real effect on the way that the car will roll through the turn. However, Ackerman helps the tires to run on their true radii through the turn. Therefore, Ackerman helps the tires roll better, without binding.

Ackerman is designed into the front end and chassis. Check with your chassis manufacturer to find out if Ackerman is designed in and if there are any adjustments to it.

Mike Loescher is the owner and chief instructor at FinishLine Racing School in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Mike holds Chassis Seminars throughout the year - all around the USA & Canada. View our class schedule or call 386-427-8522 to schedule a private setup date.

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