Ok, here goes:Oh no, more moving parts to contend with, how will we cope. Would you be so kind No Lotus as to explain the ideology behind all of this. To be more specific the retractable twin chassis is the area of most interest. Cheers....??
The twin chassis idea originated with Colin Chapman and Peter Wright, two of the most innovative car designer/engineers in automotive history. Among their innovations are the monocoque chassis, side pods, ground effects, active suspension, and the twin chassis. Did I even need to list those?
Chapman was extremely passionate about that last idea, seeing in it the ultimate solution to an otherwise necessary compromise between aero and mechanical grip (not to mention ride). Unfortunately, he and Team Lotus were never allowed to race using the technology and the idea effectively died with Chapman in 1982. He considered it to be useful for more than just F1, however, and patented the idea for road use. Of course, no manufacturer has since developed a car around the idea, but, given the extreme performance of current high-end sports cars, I think it's just a matter of time before that happens.
What a twin chassis gives you is essentially two separate suspension systems: one adapted to maximize mechanical grip and ride, and a second system that stiffly supports the underbody (or "aero chassis") so that the underbody follows the road closely. With it, you don't have to compromise between mechanical and aero grip and very high levels of the latter may be generated.
The problem with Chapman and Wright's twin chassis, however, is that the underbody is permanently coupled to the suspension of the car, which obviously limits its use for a road-going car. This is overcome by making the aero chassis retractable and able to be disengaged from the primary suspension. This gives a car two distinct modes of operation: 1) a normal street mode with normal ground clearance and a disengaged aero chassis that is fixed to the undersurface of the car and, 2), a track mode with lower ground clearance and a deployed aero chassis that automatically adapts to the road. Because of that last feature, the setup is also well suited for the use of ground effect fans to transform grip levels at lower speeds and it's low speed grip where modern supercars are most lacking, the Caparo T1 being an extreme example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFcanpNarEg. Downforce fans, of course, were pioneered by Jim Hall and Gordon Murray, and have already proven their worth at the highest levels of motorsport. Beyond the performance aspect, though, a twin chassis setup with vacuum traction is a safety device that will allow, among other things, significant decreases in braking distance from any speed and allow the driver to more likely regain the car regardless of attitude and speed. And yes, it'll let you use all of your 600 bhp off the line.
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