Imagine being able to change camber settings from inside the cabin between one corner and the next.
Thanks to a new filing at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, CarBuzz can exclusively reveal that Porsche is working on making it possible to adjust wheel camber remotely, thus removing even more difficulty from the process of refining your track setup. The patent says that this would be achieved very simply.
In a double-wishbone suspension system, the lower wishbone/tie rod mounted to the wheel carrier is left unchanged, but the upper wishbone, including a steering arm, adds an actuator. This end of the actuator that faces away from the wheel carrier is coupled to either the body or a steering gear and is coupled to the top of the shock absorber assembly. By adjusting the distance of the shock absorber's tallest point from the car body while keeping its lowest point fixed to the wheel carrier, the camber of the wheel is affected.
This system could also work with MacPherson suspension because it's so simple; it's little more than a threaded rod at the top of the shock assembly that can be lengthened and shortened with the use of an actuator. This means that camber can potentially be adjusted without raising the car off the ground. The 992 Porsche 911 GT3 RS already offers the ability to modify rebound and compression values for each individual wheel's suspension without ever getting out of the car, and we imagine that Porsche could easily make this a possibility for camber adjustment too. However, the patent does not specifically mention the ability to customize camber values, only alter them on the fly. What we mean by that is that this tech would probably work automatically based on sensors and software, or between predetermined values.
Porsche specifically notes that camber adjustment can lead to unwanted toe angles, which can negatively impact steering ability. The patent discusses how longitudinal forces - such as those experienced during acceleration and braking - can be transmitted via the steering lever to the top tie rod (in a double-wishbone setup). This impacts toe and camber in very minute ways, but if a car's suspension can counteract these forces to maintain a certain camber or toe value, more grip should theoretically be possible, the car will handle better, and lap times will fall.
It's a genius solution for extracting more performance, but it's not altogether new. Science journals and other patents have discussed this with a view to racing applications, so we suspect that weight, complexity, or cost could have rendered it unviable. If that's true, why is Porsche protecting the innovation?
For one thing, it does not appear that this sort of system has been fully explored with a view to production car applications. For another, Porsche continues to stick by its tricky-to-manage rear engine placement doggedly, and with the new GT2 RS expected to raise the performance bar once again, Stuttgart will look at any means of minimizing unpredictable or unwanted handling traits.
Of course, there's no guarantee that Porsche will put this into production on the GT2 RS, the production version of the Mission X concept, or any other car, but we did accurately predict that the GT3 RS would get a DRS-style rear wing, thanks to earlier patents.
Porsche is constantly looking at ways to improve performance, be it through new means of actively cooling brakes or novel ways of adjusting suspension, and this latest patent is just more proof that the geniuses in Stuttgart will always endeavor to produce the world's finest driver's cars.