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The Iron Duke Resource Site



Welcome to my newly redesigned Fiero 2M4 resource site.  The original site recorded over 12000 visits,  hopefully this one will also prove as useful.
Ira Crummey

Cornering Power:

Cornering power and handling are terms which are often, but wrongly, interchanged. Handling is a very subjective blend of steering feel, ride, transitional response, slip angles, tire sounds, nimbleness, and overall balance which lead to a confident, competent, enjoyable experience. A car may produce only modest cornering power yet be a favourite of many drivers for its overall handling. Concentrating on cornering power letís look at what it means and how to achieve it.

Cornering power or lateral acceleration, is measured in terms of the earthís gravitational force, in a unit simply called the "g". A g-force of 0.50g is a force equal to 50% of the earthís gravitational force ( 0.70g is 70%, etc.). Lateral acceleration is a function of applying the highest friction contact patches to the road surface (grippy tires), keeping all four in contact with the surface (springs and shocks which allow the tires to do their job) and balancing the forces among the four tires to the point where all lose lateral traction at the same point (weight distribution and anti-roll bars). Factors which influence this limit include tire design, the height and location of the centre of gravity, suspension compliance and suspension geometry (including alignment). A car may have all of the elements to produce high lateral acceleration yet subjectively seem numb, heavy and unresponsive. This is one reason why lowering your car may result in greater cornering speeds but a very unsatisfactory driving experience.

A Pontiac Fiero, of any model year, with the WS6 suspension package and correct tires for that package, will exceed 0.80g of lateral acceleration in a steady state turn. Here is where the distinction between cornering power and handling begins to show through. Owners of 1988 models will contend that their cars are better handling machines, they are better in stock form because of the subjective nature of handling. Lateral acceleration or cornering power, however, does not make this distinction. The g-force numbers for the 1988 model show no significant improvement over the earlier cars.

Ira Crummey