Current development

The damper as package for the car as a whole

For more than 50 years, Bilstein has been developing successful dampers used in motor racing. And the basic task always has remained the same. The damper has to absorb the blows the wheel has to take from the road on their way to the body. The goal: to ensure maximum contact between wheel and track surface. Still, the racing cars have been massively improved, over the course of the years, hence, the Bilstein engineers were confronted with new problems again and again.

Growing aerodynamic influence

For a long time, the dampers and the suspensions were – nearly – the only key factors for the handling of a touring car but today, the aerodynamics and the tyre setup are becoming more and more important. And in recent years, Bilstein has made vital progress supporting these areas.

The underbody of a modern racing touring car creates a considerable deal of the aerodynamic downforce, particularly at the front axle. In this area, the distance between the front-underbody panel and the track surface represents a key factor, as a certain ride height is a must to produce maximum downforce. Leaving the optimum area results in unwanted vibrations at the front axle and hence, in reduced downforce. Today, Bilstein succeeds – in cooperation with the teams’ vehicle engineers – in optimising the downforce generated by the underbody with a fitting damper setup, thus providing the driver with a handling as neutral as possible and adapted to meet his preferences.

Tyres as crucial factor

Modern racing tyres alternatively deliver their maximum grip for just one fast lap or some 90 to 95 percent of it over a longer distance, with the tyre temperature and the air pressure resulting from it representing the key factors when it comes to determining the characteristics. Thanks to the individual adjustment options of the Bilstein dampers, however, the suspension can also be used to influence the tyre temperature. Both the tyre and the damper absorb the punishment coming from the track surface. The more exactly and sophisticatedly a damper can be adjusted, the more clearance the tyre technicians have got regarding the setup.

To appropriately realise the maximum performance for suspension, aerodynamics and tyres, Bilstein developed the Modular Damper System, MDS, with a so-called two-way-inline adjustment. To do so, both the compression and the rebound stages can be manually adjusted by dint of two adjustment wheels and in ten numbered positions.