Camber refers to the angle of a wheel viewed
as though you are about to get run over. If the
wheel tilts in toward the car, it has negative
camber. If it tilts out, it has positive camber. And
WORDS PETER VIEIRA PHOTOS PETE HALL if it’s perfectly vertical, that’s zero camber. Most
cars have about 2 degrees of negative camber.
Why not stick with zero? Wouldn’t that put the
most rubber on the ground? Right you are—if
we’re talking about straight-line travel. But
unless you’re drag racing, your car needs to
turn. And when it turns, the chassis leans, caus-ing the tires to lean, reducing the size of their
contact patches. By dialing in a little negative
camber, you can compensate for the chassis
lean and (ideally) arrive at zero camber relative
to the track surface as the car is turning. Like
any tuning adjustment, this can be overdone.
Three degrees of camber is about the maximum; any more, and you’ll probably start losing
corner traction rather than gaining it.
A wheel’s angle as viewed head-on is its camber.
Here, the wheel tilts in with about 2 degrees of
With adjustments that range from roll center
and spring rate to shock angles and sag, it’s easy to get confused by suspension tuning. Here’s the good news: today’s race
cars are so well designed that most of the tuning has already
been done for you. Ten years ago, it was a big plus if your car had
10 camber-link holes; that made it “more adjustable.” Today, it’s
a surprise to find more than three. Why? The designers (and their
computers) have eliminated all the wack options and left only the
ones that fit in the envelope of what’s actually gonna work. But
of course, there is still tuning to be done, and when you understand the essentials, you’ll be much better armed to adjust your
car. Here are the biggies: camber, ride height and toe. Assuming
you’ve already got the right tires for your ride, these are the four
settings that are easiest to make and can have a big impact on
your car’s performance.
An RPM camber gauge is the classic tool to measure camber.
To adjust camber,
lengthen or shorten
the camber link.