In a tight TCA class without room for suspension geometry modification, TC America race teams have to work with the platform they select. Any race car build aims to augment the strong points of the suspension and rethink the areas of potential weakness.
The Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster Turbo TCA is built off of a 2019 Veloster Turbo R-Spec — a solid performer out of the box — but needs the right direction and proper setup to give the car that edge. In the TCA class, the team has a handful of options for suspension modifications and approached several companies about this updated-for-2019 Veloster platform, which the aftermarket is still catching up on.
Our contact at Bryan Herta Autosport is Assistant Team Manager Bob McAleer, who looped in Lead Engineer Kyle Compton, to offer insights on not only what the team will work on, but how their suspension theory and alignment setup can be used by all of us ‘weekend warriors’ who don’t have much of a racing budget.
Good, Better, Best Coilovers
While Bryan Herta Autosport has had success with a variety of suspension suppliers, it narrowed its selection down to three players for the TCA build. Penske Racing and BC Racing offer complete packages with both springs and dampers, while Eibach offers only springs, so the final decision could include a complete package or a combination from any of the three.
BC Racing has received mixed reviews; we’ve driven them, and they do offer decent value if that is a consideration. But, it’s hard to top the features, adjustability, and reliability of race-only players like Penske Racing. With that, the Veloster Turbo TCA hit the test track to begin its quest for a winning suspension.
“When selecting a suspension to be homologated for the TCA car, we wanted to test a variety of different options,” said Compton. “A challenge we encountered with the 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec was that many of the aftermarket companies still do not have upgraded components available for the 2019 model year updates. Our goal is to come up with a package that shouldn’t require much tuning, making the car simple, stable, and quick right off the truck.”
The Penske Racing damper setup features one-way adjustable rebound settings designed for top-level racing. No one will argue that Penske Racing, a titan of a motorsports brand, can likely produce a set of coilovers to outperform other candidates. However, at a 400-percent increase in cost for the custom-made Penske gear versus off-the-shelf BC Racing, the “minimal gains” are difficult to justify with the affordable appeal of TCA, SCCA, NASA, or other club racing.
Eibach is already used on the Bryan Herta Autosport Veloster N TCR car in IMSA competition with a high degree of success. However, the BHA team is evaluating an Eibach application for the Veloster Turbo TCA car, and testing is ongoing. More will be revealed on the final homologation stage of this car later this year.
It is safe to assume, Eibach will continue to be a player when selecting gear for this Veloster Turbo R-Spec TCA effort, so the BHA team could have one spring source for both its TCR and TCA needs. But again, the scale, pricing, and availability for a repeatable TCA Veloster package like this for clients is a significant factor.
For the suspension, we have a good, better, best scenario forming here, but understandably, the cost increases with the capabilities and features. And, the spring/shock package may include only one manufacturer or a combination of more than one.
All Those Arms and Bushings
We turned our interest to the OEM gear on the Veloster that holds the suspension together. The 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec is a four-wheel independent suspension, with a coil-type MacPherson strut up front and a multi-link rear from the factory. While Hyundai engineers design arms and bushings for street performance, they are also designed for comfort and long-life.
“Generally speaking, the stock suspension is tuned more for comfort, so it is softer with more body roll. It also must endure greater longevity and colder temperatures than in racing. It is not designed for some of the extreme demands of the race track, such as high impacts (curbs), high intensity (high-speed corners/bumps), and the high temperatures experienced while racing,” says Compton.
Bryan Herta Autosport is still testing the factory arms and bushings to see where the rigors of racing might demand aftermarket components. Careful inspection and feedback will be analyzed when hitting apex curbs, or how the continual punishment of high-speed cornering and temperatures might affect the OEM gear.
From The Factory
The team indicates to us the factory Veloster suspension is a very capable and competent design. “Suspension geometry is very well thought out and designed on the road car. We are just maximizing the most from an already strong foundation,” says Compton. The Veloster Turbo TCA car is currently showing none of the factory understeer that most cars have off the showroom floor.
The new, improved grip is afforded by less body roll, and the result is stiffer and more responsive handling. The car is becoming more neutral and easier to rotate, along with the inherent qualities of the Veloster. According to Compton, less dive under braking and significant mid-corner grip are areas the Veloster outperforms its competitors.“Overall, the lateral-load capability has improved, which will afford the driver confidence to carry more speed through the corners. We have unlocked the maximum performance of the [street] Veloster’s potential,” stated Compton.
While the team at Bryan Herta Autosport didn’t share all of its racing secrets with TURNology, they did reveal what can benefit all of us on our own race cars. “Focus on roll stiffness,” says Compton. “It is the biggest tuning difference in a car like this, which has no aero.”
For us racers on a budget, Compton offers this bit of advice: ”Strive for a suspension that is much stiffer than stock but be careful, we still don’t want to disrupt the chassis’ ability to respond to bumps. If you dial it up too stiff, the car will hop over bumps and lose traction altogether — essentially, slowing you down. An alignment with moderate toe-out in the front is a fairly standard track car setup. However, toe-out in the rear will help with rotation on a front-wheel-drive car, like our Veloster.”
Generally, the team set up this TCA Veloster to ”increase the stiffness in the rear because it helps with front grip and rotation. The Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster Turbo TCA aims to simplify going racing and not become overly complicated for racers.
In our next installment of the Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster Turbo TCA build, we examine wheels and brakes, along with the merits of the Pirelli spec-tire in this TC America class.