Sport suspensions are also a matter of attitude
What specifies the performance of a sport suspension? Is it only the combination of shorter springs, harder shock absorbers and lowering the car body? “Using the right parts is of course extremely important,” says Christian Abt.
Among other things, the experienced racing-pro is responsible for the field “suspension” at Abt Sportsline – and this is much more complex than the list of its components suggests: “The choice of shock absorbers plays a decisive role as they dampen the vehicle on uneven ground. This can only work when springs and spring rate correspond to the shock absorbers – only then all components can interact successfully.” Therefore the ABT engineers always work on their optimization and improvement to increase driving dynamics.
A modern suspension for an upgraded vehicle by ABT Sportsline must fulfill several functions. It provides sporty road performance appropriate to the speedy models from Kempten, and allows for example higher speed in corners. But it also has to be comfortable enough so that even long trips do not become a torture for the passengers. ABT pays particular attention to adjustable sport suspensions which allow to appoint the ground clearance and hence provide for a more precise adjustment of the components to different requirements. “Suspensions have to match the car’s character, an R8 is more likely to be operated in the limit range than a large sedan or a Touareg,” says Christian Abt. Therefore the former German Touring Car-pilot personally takes care of the suspension fine adjustment – and this goes far beyond computer-calculated values. With his experience and his feeling for not measurable nuances, Christian Abt takes care that sportiness and suitability for everyday use do not exclude each other.
Interview with Christian Abt
In an interview, the race driver explains how he uses his know-how and experience when developing and testing ABT suspensions. An abridged version of the interview with Christian Abt:
When does ABT accept technical compromises?
Christian Abt: Of course, a sport suspension has to be adjusted more sporty in detail, but not too hard making the passengers feel uncomfortable. When people get out of the car after a trip and feel completely shattered, they certainly lost their driving pleasure on the road. The car type and its characteristics always determine how far we can go with the final adjustment of the suspension. What provides driving pleasure in a Golf GTI will be perceived as annoying by the driver of an A8. But generally, it is important that the overall-performance is well-balanced. By adjusting all components perfectly to each other, compromises can be kept at a minimum.