Suspension upgrades and geometry
Nitron Dampers by Hofmann’s
If you want the ultimate track focussed handling for your Lotus then our damper kits have to be the number one choice. Taking the damper technology developed by our immensely talented technical partners at Nitron we have then further tailored the package to work in complete harmony with the Lotus Elise chassis.
Using experience gained from many years racing, and winning, with Lotus Elise’s in series which include British GT, Britcar, GT Cup and LOTRDC, we have arrived at this ultimate specification of damper. This damper, spring and helper spring combination is capable of transforming the cornering capability of your car and has several key advantages over the competition. This ultimate Lotus damper package has been honed and proven in the hugely successful LOTRDC championship where our car, equipped with these dampers, has been utterly dominant.
Through the extensive use of on track testing, data logging and damper rig testing we have arrived at a bespoke valving setup which will carefully control the attitude of your car’s chassis through a corner. As the Lotus Elise chassis has the engine located rearwards and high up in the car it takes quite a unique approach to damper valving to keep control and stability of the car throughout the different phases of a corner.
Most conventional dampers use a ‘rebound/bump’ ratio of about 2/1 whereas we use virtually a 1/1 ratio through the medium to fast damper velocities, a technique which is becoming ever more popular on modern racing cars. Through the slower damper velocities, which the driver can directly ‘feel’, when the car is rolling under cornering load, our damper goes through a carefully scribed force/velocity curve making the car both predictable and confidence inspiring.
What all this means to you is that your car will hold the road unlike it has ever done before, it will give you more information through the steering wheel allowing you to find the limits of cornering ability more easily and, if you race your car, it will help propel you to the front of the grid.
Before supplying a damper kit we make sure we talk to each and every customer at length so that we can gain an in depth understanding of their requirements. Once we have gained all the information we need we can tailor a bespoke damper setup, using all our extensive experience, to provide the customer with a solution optimised for them.
Over the last 2 years, alongside Nitron, we have been investing a huge amount of time and resource into developing Nitrons latest range of dampers which include a bigger 46mm piston. From our on track testing we have isolated an improvement over the standard Nitron damper by utilising a different damper piston and we have also succesfully tested some piston modifications which improve the low speed ride quality to improve the compromise between road and track performance.
We firmly believe these dampers to be the best and fastest available on the market today with several pole positions, race wins and fastest laps in the GT Cup championship over 2013 to prove this.
Here at Hofmann’s we pride ourselves on our understanding and experience of the Lotus Elise chassis and all it’s derivatives. We have probably completed more racing miles in theses cars than any other team having raced competitively in British GT with the factory team, Britcar (including two 24 hour races in an Elise and Exige), GT Cup, Lotus Elise Trophy and more. Over the years we have adjusted and optimised every tuning parameter on the car using many different specification cars with various makes of tyre.
This experience has helped us utterly dominate the Elise Trophy, win races in GT Cup against the very best GT cars Ferrari have to offer, win in British GT against the odds and also put in giant killing performances in Britcar. We believe we can utilise this experience for our customers benefit by offering a bespoke suspension setup for each and every one of them.
We are equally at home with our state of the art Beissbarth alignment machine as we are with the traditional method of using string and parallel poles (a method will still you at the race track) and offer the customer a choice of how they would like their car set up. We cross check and calibrate our machine regularly to keep it in top condition to ensure repeatable results and this machine helps us speed up procedures for the dynamic measurements like bump steer.
Before we complete a set up we do a complete check of the car to ensure the condition of all the joints and bearings are good and road test the car to look for obvious handling discrepancies. If suspension joints are worn or damaged the results of a set up procedure would be poor and we only like to offer the best value for the customer. Where possible we like to check the car over well in advance of the set up so there is ample time to either repair problems in house or to advise the customers in order for them to repair the car themselves.
So that we can accommodate the differing requirements of our customers we have developed a price structure to accommodate our two most popular setup procedures with bolt on options for those who want to optimise their car when they have upgraded components, which offer extra adjustability.
Before we can proceed
Pilbeam Anti-Roll Bar
To minimise corner entry understeer and maximise corner exit traction on a Lotus Elise/Exige, it is vital for a very stiff Anti-Roll-Bar (ARB) to be used. The Lotus Elise is compromised by its road car layout and, as such, the front two tyres tend to fight against one another on the entrance to a corner.
To alleviate this it’s important to unload the inside front tyre in the entrance of a corner to achieve a positive turn in. On corner exit it is imperative that both rear tyres have good contact with the ground to reduce the chance of wheel spin (something that will dramatically effect lap times).
With a stiff front ARB fitted the weight of the car is pushed over the rear two tyres as much as possible allowing the car excellent traction.The Pilbeam ARB has been developed in conjunction with Hofmann’s through extensive on track testing and can be adjusted to suit a range of track focussed tyres, including full slicks. This exact bar has been used successfully by Chris Randall in his all conquering 2007 LOTRDC car
Although we keep to the prices above as strictly as possible we do occasionally run into problems when a car is particularly corroded or in poor condition and needs extra time spent on remedial work. If this is the case we will always report the problem to the customer immediately so they can choose how they would like us to progress with the repairs.
Where bolts and washers are removed to complete the set up procedure we always replace with new. For example camber optimisation requires the removal of the upright bolts which would be replaced with new 10.9 grade cap heads bolts and the threads in the upright cleaned where necessary. Where appropriate copper slip, anti corrosion compound, or locktite are used in the rebuild.