Against The Grain: Racing On Air
Eureka

This isn’t an argument, because we’re long since past that.

A couple of years ago, around the time I was seriously starting to consider putting Project GTI on air, I came across a California resident by the name of Cody Miles. At the time, he was driving his daily driver, a Subaru Impreza WRX STI, in local Global Time Attack events. This in itself isn’t particularly notable; lots of people compete in their street cars at grassroots events all around the world.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-26

What was notable, however, was that Cody’s STI was equipped with air suspension, the supposed antithesis to performance driving. But not only was his car riding on air, he was winning, and regularly.

If you’ve ever agonised over making a significant change to your car, you’ll surely relate to the countless hours researching before taking the proverbial plunge. You’ll have spent more time than you will ever admit to your non-car friends and family browsing message boards, reading reviews, articles, or even getting lost in the maze of hashtags of the likes of Instagram, just hoping to find that one morsel of information that helps you make up your mind, or even to reassure you that it is, in fact, exactly what you need.

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Happening across Cody Miles’ Instagram account was my eureka moment. While I could find no shortage of Air Lift Performance-equipped vehicles, Cody’s was maybe the most accurate representation of what my ultimate intended use with Project GTI was. From that moment, I was sold.

Although Larry and I put together a feature on Cody’s car last year, I had never met or spoken to Cody in person before. There had been a few back and forth e-mails exchanged around the time of the feature, but the man and car continued to elude me. Until recently, that is.

All good stories often start with a harmless enough sounding proposition, and this one began with an e-mail from Corey Rosser at Air Lift Performance. Would I like to come and check out Air Lift’s facility in Lansing, Michigan? Of course, I would. Why not tie it in with an upcoming Speed Ring event just outside Detroit at the same time? Oh, and Cody will be shipping his STI across country to compete. Interested?

Abso-f**king-lutely.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-1

Fast forward a few weeks, and I’m stood on Air Lift’s shop floor, the unmistakeable hawkeye STI in front of me. A lot has changed since we featured the car, and its transformation from barely legal street car to fully fledged race car is now complete.

We were invited up to Air Lift’s staff break room for some pizza and introductions, although we wouldn’t be hanging around the facility for too long. There was time for a tour and to arrange a very special giveaway which will be coming up shortly (if you own a GTI, your interest should be piqued) before loading up for Speed Ring. I’m certain it was a Friday evening.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-2

The car had been shipped ahead of Cody, who flew in that morning to Detroit. There was just enough time to gently run the car up and down the parking lot to ensure nothing was amiss, before loading it and a handful of tools and spare wheels into the back of Air Lift Performance’s compact two-car trailer.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-6

Having spent the season with the Worthouse Drift Team, with their seemingly infinite amount of spares, it was a reminder that there’s so many people out there doing it relatively on their own, on much smaller scale. With the help of the Air Lift Performance staff, Cody took charge and had the car and spares secured in no time, taking extra care to ensure nothing would move about during the relatively short drive to the track.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-8

It’s only in recent times that Air Lift Performance have officially backed Cody; he was originally just one of their customers and bought his first kit with his own money. I was always curious of this, and I think his success is made all the more impressive because of it.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-15

With everything loaded, it was time to hit the road. Destination: Detroit, and the M1 Concourse, a relatively new circuit based on the site of a former General Motors plant.

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As we arrived, the sun was setting at the previously vacant lot. The freshly laid tar offered an almost mirror image of the world above it, following a brief rainstorm. The evening at the track was brief, with the car unloaded, a tent secured in place, and Cody giving the car a quick clean ahead of the weekend’s track action.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-22

This wouldn’t be quite like any other time attack-style event that I, or anyone else for that matter, had attended.

Margins Of Error

Saturday morning gave me my first proper look at what Speed Ring was about. The rain that greeted us as we arrived the evening before was long since gone, and would stay away for the rest of the trip. When we arrived, Cody was ready to roll for his first of several time attack sessions.

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But not before a mandatory drivers’ briefing. As the organisers of the event went through the weekend’s schedule and regulations, cars continued to arrive for scrutiny. It’s been a few years since I last attended a professional-level time attack event, but it’s a discipline that I’ve always admired for its purity, its outlandish builds, and the lengths that teams will go to to find every tenth.

The variety of cars across the three main classes – Street Modified, Track Modified and Unlimited (themselves again sub-divided into FWD, RWD and AWD) – was impressive. All the major marques were represented, with power levels ranging from strictly humble to strictly outrageous.

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My focus this weekend, however, would be on Cody and how his event would progress. Mostly, I wanted to hang back and just watch how he went about things, both on and off track.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-39

Cody isn’t the first to race on air suspension – far from it in fact. Air suspension in motorsport can be traced back to the 1950s. He his a rare sort in today’s motorsport world, though. Air Lift Performance themselves, while fully confident in their product, will say that a coilover system is perfect for a vehicle that doesn’t require on-the-fly height adjustability, such as a track car.

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This makes what Cody has achieved all the more fascinating. When he first started he ran Air Lift Performance’s V2 system, but last year upgraded to their new 3H system, The kit he runs on his car is off-the-shelf, too. There’s no special treatment or secret componentry involved.

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This was what I found most interesting; it’s one thing to utilise air to achieve maximum low or the perfect wheel fitment, but it’s another to set it up for performance. While a GTI and STI aren’t exactly comparable, it did show me that I’m at least on the right track with regards to pressures in relation to damping settings, which is nice.

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Watching the car on track for the first time – in person, anyways – there’s absolutely no way you could tell how the car was sprung. Coupled with Cody’s smooth, clean driving style, the car was fully composed during the morning practice sessions, although the tight course, with little run off, did prohibit him from pushing and taking chances.

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As such, it was a case of slowly adding speed throughout the course of the day. Competing in the Track Modified AWD class, he would share the circuit with RWD and FWD competitors, along with his direct opponents.

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The only issue with spectating at any time attack event, is that unless you’re in earshot of the PA system or have your own timing system, it’s difficult to gauge just who is fastest. While the early sessions were reserved for practice only, the final two sessions were timed for competition purposes.

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There is a visual increase in speed at this point of the day; the cars are visibly moving around more, using more of the course and generally looking much closer to the edge. On what would be his last flying lap of the day, Cody carried a huge amount of speed around the final corner and onto the short start/finish straight.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-82

He ran wide, collecting the cones which lined the edge of the course where the pit lane joined the track. It was going to take a miracle to pull the car up in time for the sharp, almost square, first right-hander. That miracle didn’t come.

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There wasn’t a lock up, but a short trip across the even shorter gravel trap and a gentle kiss into the tyres, before the car came to a halt in a cloud of dust. There was a brief moment of silence before the STI reversed back out onto the track and carefully made its way back to the pits.

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Fortunately, damage was mostly cosmetic, but the mistake potentially cost the class win. When the session eventually saw the chequered flag, Cody would have done enough to take second in his class, behind the Impreza of Richard Gross.

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I immediately got the impression the day before that Cody takes a lot of pride in his car, from its preparation to its care during the event. I was curious to see his response in the aftermath to what was a relatively small off. There were some smiles, once it was apparent that no major damage was done, before he immediately started into making the requisite repairs.

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Again, it was apparent that he’s more than used to dealing with issues by himself. There’s no team of mechanics to take care of it while he goes back to the hotel. Although the Air Lift Performance crew were always on hand to help where they could.

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It wasn’t the day that he had in mind, but it’s the one he got. Still, there was one more day to go. Although the Sunday would see an unusual twist on the time attack format.

Master Stroke
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While the second and final day of Speed Ring started in a similar fashion to the first, it would be a very different event. Time attack is a great form of motorsport, but it’s more often than not incredibly boring from a spectator standpoint.

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It comes back to what we spoke about previously, in that it’s nigh on impossible to gauge who’s fastest just from watching trackside. Well, as it happens, Speed Ring have an idea about that: Touge-style time attack.

For this portion of the event, the FWD, RWD and AWD elements of each primary class would be removed. Using the competitors times from the previous day, a bracket system was built for each of the Street Modified, Track Modified and Unlimited classes. This is going exactly where you think it is, and it’s brilliant.

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With each pair of cars ready to go, they leave the pits for an out lap, followed by a flying lap by the lead car being chased by his or her opponent. Overtaking is forbidden, and four wheels off course is an automatic disqualification. With the first flying and timed lap completed, the cars slow for another lap, swap positions and then attack again once they cross the starting line. Basically touge rules.

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The chase car has no obligation to stay within a certain distance of the lead car; they can absolutely harass the lead car around the course, applying maximum pressure. With both runs completed, the driver with the overall fastest combined time goes through to the next stage of battles. Think drifting, but time attack.

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It’s simple, but it’s completely changed how I view time attack. Cody’s first opponent would be Darby Barber and her silver Miata. There was a significant time distance between the two in the previous day’s sessions, and it translated into the touge competition, too. It was looking comfortable for Cody, and his advance to the next stage was cemented when the silver Miata spun at turn one and went deep into the gravel.

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What makes things even more interesting is that this was both drivers’ first time on track on Sunday. There’s no practice session, just a fast warm-up out lap. It’s also a seriously quick-fire event. With the Miata defeated, Cody was directed back to the grid to await his next opponent. I believe it was the first time they had ever tried this format, so it was impressive how smoothly it went.

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His next opponent was the unconventional LS-powered BMW E36 of Bartosz Orlowski. This was a much closer matching, which showed on-track as they chased each other which much closer proximity.

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With both hot laps completed, they returned to the pits to discover who the victor was. It would be Cody’s second win of the day, and he went straight into the semi-finals where he would face the previous day’s Track Modified AWD victor, Richard Grossi’s Impreza.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-116

With fewer cars remaining, the pace of the event reaches its peak at this point. There’s an incredibly short amount of time between heats, which only adds to the drama for the spectators, and the pressure for the drivers.

2017 Speed Ring Cody Miles Air Lift Performance Subaru Impreza Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-119

By Cody’s own admission, his laps were scrappy which gave his opponent a narrow victory. Still, it was another trip to the podium for him, his second in two days. Ultimately, the blue Impreza would take the Track Modified outright win for the second day running.

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You learn a lot about someone when they lose, far more than when they win. Cody’s reaction to his weekend was exactly the same as other succesful drivers that I know and follow. Yes, he was disappointed. I wouldn’t expect him not to be.

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However, he was already hungry to get back to California and prepare his car for an upcoming event at Buttonwillow and improve upon his shortcomings in Detroit. The old adage of learning from your losses most certainly applies.

There was a small consolation for Cody, however. His fastest lap during the touge competition would have given him the victory during the previous day’s competition.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos
paddy@speedhunters.com

Cutting Room Floor
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67 comments

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1

If only it was legal to install aftermarket airlift system in Belgium , my BRZ will be happy ...

Author2

Really? I could have sworn I know of Belgian cars on air.

3

The existence and its legality are two different things :) I see people driving about with no front number plates or with illegal fonts or spacing all the time here in England. Illegal, sure, but everywhere.

4

mrwicksy said all.
Some guys ride on air and only come back to normal suspension for the mandatory "technical check" but I don't want to play that game ;)

5
John W Cangieter

Air Ride has gotton my attention for years now, I'm thing king on biting the bullet very soon. But that wheel color has got my attention. Can anyone get me the wheel specs?

Author6

I think they're Ambit FF4s that have been custom painted. Cody might chip in to confirm, though...

7

If the system was able, are they allowed to change the suspension geometry on the fly?

Author8

The geometry will change with any change in height, and you can have presets saved to make quick changes on the fly too. So, I guess the answer is yes to your question.

9

Really cool to see a track car on air my prediction is it will become much more common and would be cool to see self learning tuning be developed.

Where can I learn more about the miata? it just strikes me as a good looking machine with more than meets the eye.

10

@darbymx5 on Instagram

11

You may be waiting a little while with that prediction man. It works for him in his specific arena, and fair play to him, but even he'd still go faster on 'proper' suspension. It's a long-standing gimmick that is working for him and Air Lift, at present, so while you won't see any agreement with this comment it really doesn't need any. Like JohnB basically said further down the page, people who know, know.

12

I like to believe this, I really do, but there are two thing's I'll off as counterpoint to the statement, "but even he'd still go faster on 'proper' suspension":
1) Can you authoratively say he's hit the limit of what he can do with the Airlift system? If so, then OK. If not, then no, and why should he change? It works well, well enough for him to be faster than only the rare other car, and can still get faster without hitting the ceiling on his current setup.
2) At what level of driver do you need to be to be able to be faster on coils than this system? Is he there? Are YOU there?

I'd love for you to tell an actual driver how much more you know than them, in person. Please, go ahead and insult him to his face and tell him his car doesn't have "proper" suspension. I'd imagine the response would be, "Bring what you got on out here to the track, buddy."

13

To answer your question:

1) He won in 2015 because no one contested as many races as him. Simple fact. The suspension is not superior. This is like half a basketball team not showing up to a finals game and then saying you won the championship. The data is listed below in one of my comments.

2) Look at SKUSA Nationals. You have Will Power who is an Indy World Champion showing up against guys like Paolo De Conto clocking times within 0.300 of a second across a field of 50 competitors. Do you think if guys like De Conto or Power were showing up in Redline Time Attack that anyone would have a hope in hell of beating them? Please. This comment is ignorance at it's finest.

"Bring what you got on out here to the track, buddy." Laughable. Guys with real experience would gladly say this right to his face. I have friends who hold outright track records at Willow Spring in the Can-Am series. There is no sympathy or bullshit with real racers. You're comment is nothing more than imagination because it is neither rooted in fact, nor experience. This is THOR brake all over again...

14

one of us! one of us! Thank you very much for the comment TR. Appreciate it.

Author15

The main sponsor on the car is A Star Fabrication, whose Facebook is - https://www.facebook.com/AStarFABrication

You might find more there, but I struggled!

16

Darby is a good friend of mine and her car is awesome! She's done a massive amount of the work herself from building the engine to the custom aero and fenders. I think it's arounf 335whp at the moment. She's definitely worth a feature!

17

Ok, great driver, great suspension set-up; but I'd love to know the difference between this set-up and the exact same car on coil-overs on the same course, etc. Performance air is fascinating but I'd welcome a comparison. As you said, we all agonize when choosing a multi-dollar path.

18

For reference the car that took first place, whereas Cody took second, was also a Subaru Wrx Sti on coilovers. The Sti that won weighed 200lbs+ less and had 100whp more than Cody's Sti, while only beating Cody by 1.46 seconds. While there are several variables that can affect this, it's a testament at how well the suspension can handle, and how good of a driver Cody really is.

19

1.46 seconds is a big margin. Don't discredit that guy.

20

That's driver error then. No way you should be slower with that amount of weight and power difference. A great driver should easily be faster under those circumstances unless the setup is wrong or there is a mechanical deficiency in the machine.

21

John B - I think you have misunderstood, or misread the above comment. Cody W is stating that the winning STI was on coilovers, weighed 200Lbs LESS and had 100whp MORE than bagged STI. Even with the weight, power and "proper suspension" advantage, he only won by a very small margin. Meaning, if both cars weighed th same and had the same power, it could have easily been a different result.

22

Exactly. That tells me the driver wasn't that great. The gap should have been much bigger. I have had the opportunity to share cars with some very prominent drivers...guys who have been to Le Mans, tested F1 cars etc. I am a very competent driver on a club level. The difference between a top level pro and amateur is staggering.

It's all about relative competition. I'm not knocking Cody at all. All I'm saying is you can't base conclusion about equipment on a class that isn't top level. Air isn't used in any serious serious race cars. I like this because it's different, we just have to be honest about the limitations. The company admitted it themselves.

23

That same car on coilovers may have had the edge to win. The article is a bit misleading. He can show up, outpace a miata, and do well. However winning requires every edge up possible, and if it doesn't then it means the competition isn't much competition to begin with.

Author24

He's won the pro class championship in Global Time Attack in Pro in 2016, the Redline Time Attack championships in 2015 and 2016, along with setting a couple of lap records along the way. I'm not sure what else he has to do, as some people are keen on moving the goalposts because they can't accept that the technology involved in air suspension has moved on so much.

Nobody is coming to take your coilovers away, but it might be time to start accepting that there is comparable performance available from an air suspension setup. As a caveat, just like not all coilovers are equal, the same applies for air suspension. Some companies excel, others cater to a different budget.

25

To clarify that win in 2015 he was the only person who competed in 7 of the 9 races. The other guy ran something like 4 as I mentioned in previous comments. That's a participation trophy.

26

everything is comparable by the pure definition of the word. Cut springs are comparable. You're not wrong. No one is moving goalposts. We look at top tier racing and even some of those venues use a hybrid system air/coilover system. My post wasn't in defense of coilovers, it's in defense of winning and what it takes to win. He's won before, and given the right circumstances as long as his competition doesn't repeat what they did to him at this event he will win again. The people looking at a reason to get an air setup should definitely look at his car for inspiration because they most likely won't be utilizing their suspension to the extent he is.

Author27

Maybe 'competitive' would have been the better word?

Author28

Air Lift Performance carried out this exact test a couple of years ago with three varying street cars:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dQgT5g84ag

29

that test was extremely flawed and unscientific. You make a better case for air suspension in your above article, then that video does to be honest.

30

Key words there: Air Lift did the test against who know what coilovers and how they were set-up. No thanks. I mean have Cody set up his optimum coil-over setup, then do the comparison.

Author31

To be honest, I would be curious too, but I don't think people would ever accept the result, no matter how impartial it would be.

I do know what coilovers were used in that video, and that the test was perfectly fair and comparable. Again, it just comes down to the moving goalposts that some people will use. For example if they said what coilovers were used, the argument would then become "Well, they should have used X brand instead" and the argument would just continue into infinity.

I think Cody's success on track says everything that needs to be said. He's competing against comparable cars on coilovers which he often beats, and sometimes he doesn't. But that's racing.

32

Not starting an argument but what's track reliability like? That's the kicker for me on a daily - every person I know with air has had problems, be it down to installation or otherwise. Compressors fail, lines burst, bags burst, etc. etc. I've run KW V1s for 8 years and 115000 miles and they're still perfect.

Author33

I've done 18 months on mine, with a couple of trackdays mixed in and I've had no problems. Any issues with lines or bags will be an incorrect installation issue, and a failed compressor can be bypassed with a manual fill valve on the tank. In saying that, I run two compressors for this reason.

34

Paddy I gotta grill you in a friendly way because I've seen this test and I know it's a joke. Can you share with us alignment settings on the cars, the brand of coil they used, spring rates and type of shock valving they used on the test day? If they used shit equipment then yes the test is bogus.

Now if they use something that is comparative in price then we are talking, but these bag systems are not cheap. You can find used racing Penske shocks for around $4500 in the right circles for particular sports cars. Can you as an enthusiast and a journalist honest look others in the face and say if these cars were setup by Penske on Penske shocks / swift springs that the Air Lift system still would have won?

Author35

All I can say is that it was a very, very good brand of coilover by a European manufacturer. I'm not aware of specific alignment settings, but as far as I remember, the cars were setup to be as close to the same settings on either coils or air as possible.

Also worth remembering that these were street cars on comparable street setups, not full fledged race cars.

36

Appreciate it Paddy. Any test where someone will not divulge information, ESPECIALLY a test done by a company who has a commercial interest in the test is impossible to be convincing to consumers with brains. The spring rates were obviously set up too soft...it's visible in the test. The driver was obviously paid which is a huge wrench in their credibility.

As for his success on track it's important to remember that in 2015 he won because he simply competed in more races than the next guy. I looked up the numbers. 9 races in the season. Cody ran 7/9 and the guy who finished 2nd over all ran something like 4/9. That doesn't prove anything other than he showed up more. 3rd place contested 3 or some other guys only ran 1 race.

The reason I make these points isn't to hate, but to hopefully be read by 1 person who is serious about performance and is looking to spend their hard earned money on genuine performance parts. In my opinion this companies marketing integrity, to be blunt, is completely dishonest.

37

@mrwicksy with a properly installed air system a lot of the failures you talk about are not so common. I've said this a couple times (usually under posts of this car) but I've been on air now for about 5 years all year in Canada. I've also been rear ended hard enough to write the car off and my air suspension was fine and the car stayed at ride height. Barring a line being pulled straight out of either the manifold or bag (which loops back to install) as long as Cody is airing out between sessions a compressor dying won't end his day.

@John B Somewhere in the depths of Volkswagen Vortex someone 'close' to Air Lift let it slip it was a purple and yellow brand, aka 4 logos over from the air lift logo in the footer. Of course I don't think anyone will outright confirm this but that's the rumor.

I don't think Air Lift's marketing is dishonest. But I do agree that I would love to see an impartial comparison made.

The problem is anyone really in a position to do it ($$$) is probably not impartial...

All that to be said Air is proving to be a great answer for someone who wants to do it all (Drive show track as they say). Even if it is hard to swallow.

38

I absolutely agree with you. If you want to do it all it's a great solution. In reality you can't be a jack of all trades and a master of one thing.

What we are seeing is a guy who is winning because his competition isn't showing up and when they do they are likely poor drivers. This isn't to take away from him, it's just to say that in a real cut throat environment of real racing (which time attack is not) this guy would get slaughtered.

This is what the car industry has become. Real racing is dying and series like time attack and drifting are muddying the waters. Throw this guy in a field of SCCA National winning Spec Miata on bags and he's going to get dusted so bad he wouldn't have a choice but to convert. Racing is diluted now and that's the over bearing point.

39

Forgive my ignorance but what's the main difference between time attack and other forms racing? Is it the lack of being door to door?

Specs cars must adhere to? Just trying to better understand the comparison to drifting.

40

Absolutely. Time Attack is about being fast for 1 lap. Essentially qualifying in wheel to wheel racing. It becomes a very different ball game when 30 people are behind you trying to push you out of the way. Some racing series in wheel to wheel see a field of 80 people who can run within 0.300 of a second of each other.

A good way to think of it is like throwing a football 1,000 times in practice. Put yourself on the line at the Super Bowl with another team of guys who literally want to hit you so hard you can get a concussion and you have to make a snap decision in a quarter of a second of where to throw the ball. Another competitor against you magnifies the pressure considerably.

Spec Miata is a great example of hard racing with an intense field. SKUSA Super Nationals as well. Drifting is very subjective and isn't about going as fast as physically possible. It's a show sport.

41

Was admiring this at Subiefest last weekend, and noticed some damage to the front fender. Now I know where it came from!

42

I saw him on the 210 West in Pasadena in the other day, this thing is a pleasant sight at speed on the freeway.

43

Street car ;)

44

I've had this conversation with two friends: one who was a designer in Formula 1 and another who was a development driver for the legendary David Bruns of Swift and Indy Car fame. Both of them have no taste for air suspension.

Cody is winning, yes, but against who and under what circumstances? To credit air suspension as a serious performance item you have to inquire what other people are running and their ability. Is anyone in that class running a regressive or double digressive, double adjustable high performance racing shock from Penske or are they on cheapo garbage like Teins / off brand equipment?

If air is so great, why do we not see it at the highest levels or motorsport like DTM, Unlimited Time Attack Cars and on the latest and greatest super cars? Christian Von Koenigsegg has no rule book to adhere to and he still chooses a spring and shock setup with push rod actuated suspension. No bags on the Porsche 918.

Apologize if this comes off as ranting, but you are looking at a very local / club level racer who is successful in a very small field. The test this company did was complete garbage and I have sent it to friends who have built some of the most famous racing cars of all time. They pretty much laughed at the test. I know I sound like a dick. Just adding the flip side of the coin to the conversation Paddy. Great article and photos as always guys!

45

While I'm sure a lot of which true, you still missed the point to this completely.

In fact, very early in the article it says, "Air Lift Performance themselves, while fully confident in their product, will say that a coilover system is perfect for a vehicle that doesn’t require on-the-fly height adjustability, such as a track car."
And here you come with, "Why do we not see it at the highest levels or motorsport like DTM, Unlimited Time Attack Cars?"

BECAUSE THAT'S NOT WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.
It's like you make a correct point, and then go askew for some unknown reason.
"...you are looking at a very local / club level racer who is successful in a very small field."
EXACTLY! This is someone who started on a low budget, who only recently acquired sponsors for something he initially purchased and pursued on his own, and is doing something different in the interest of his own.
It's also something people can relate to; wanting to enjoy various aspects of auto-culture and motor sport without having to go "all-in" in a certain direction and be committed.

You're out here talking about $4500 Penske sh*t, when an air ride kit for my STi is around $2000 - not much more than what I paid for my HKS hypermax coilovers. That cost is NOT comparable to $4500.
No, my car doesn't see any track time, and probably never will. I purchased those coils because I wanted a comfortable, but firm ride that increased basic vehicle handling - and that is exactly what I got.

Bags merely expand the number situations in which my vehicle can excel, which is AirLift's point in the first place, "on the fly adjustment".
They never said having airride would set time-attack records any more than it would win you showcar awards - but it gives you the platform and opportunity to compete in both at the touch of button.
Airride isn't carefree - bags can tear or burst, lines can freeze in cold climates, compressors fail; but the same can be said for any other part of your car you don't maintain properly, it's all just part of the ownership experience. You do your research, know what you're getting into, and you shouldn't see any major issues with a tried and true product like this.

While I, too, would like to see a more comprehensive, transparent test between the suspension types, I'm not going to disregard someones success because of my own personal prejudices. I have no immediate plans to switch suspension set-ups, but I am almost always in favor of someone pushing the limits of what a product is capable of, and see where the technology leads them in the future.

Author46

I'd imagine it might have something to do with decades of R&D by an entire industry versus what is a relatively new technology being applied to air suspension by a small number of companies?

FWIW, ALP have never once come out and said that this is the replacement for coilovers. They've just shown that their product is perfect for those who require on the fly height adjustment, while still being a competitive setup on track.

Also, no need to apologise, I'm always happy to engage with good arguments.

47

I want to do an air system on my fc but sadly last i looked i had to get one of their universal kits. I trust my hands with a lot but i would leave suspension up to the pros. On an other note though that format of racing sounds like a total blast.

48

My friends T Coupe runs air-ride in land speed racing and hold his class record at 206mph in the standing mile. Shooting for 220 next year.
His other car a 33 coupe runs air too and it run 180mph+ at Bonneville and runs 8s in the 1/4mile.
He's even run dirt drags in the T, he swears by air suspension.

decom_7ca2f57fd8650a29f2fed0b48e03e27b_59e7cf81b4ed2.PNGdecom_7ca2f57fd8650a29f2fed0b48e03e27b_59e7cf81b4ed2.PNG
49

You're also talking about a format of racing where there are no corners. In a smooth straight away at steady state acceleration springs and shocks essentially do nothing.

50

My brother Cody is an incredible driver, considering we grew up drifting an Oldsmobile around in our moms horse arena at 14. The control and confidence he has while in that seat is unlike anyone else I've ever seen drive. He scared the life out of me the first time he took me down our local canyon in that STI. It's funny how I taught him how to drive when we were kids and now he's teaching me how to really drive a car to its limit. Keep watching that kid because he's got plenty more track records to break

51

Good luck to anyone trying to develop air ride for racing but its alot harder to control a gas over liquid, this is pure basic physics and this is why no one who knows how to go fast uses air ride .
Good advert though paddy keep up the good work.

Author52

Performance air struts use an oil filled damper just like a coilover, the only difference is the spring.

I'm horrendously jet lagged at the moment, so my apologies if that wasn't the point you were making.

53

I didnt know that but same physics and theory, how its easier to control a solid object over a fluid

54

Reading that made me want to see more of the "Time Attack - Touge". It sounds awesome!

Author55

Honestly, it's changed how I view Time Attack.

56

I'm interested too. Are there any videos available of this event? Sounds like something fun to watch.

57

All these folks with "my mate who's an astronaut says" arguments, do make me laugh. It's good to have a discussion but at least accept the evidence when it's given to you rather than just shouting over it.

You can almost guarantee that no one here races to the same level or at all, (myself included) but still has an opinion on air because it's ain't the done thing. Try it yourself, see how you get on, don't like it? Stick to traditional coilovers and sell the bags.

58

No evidence has been provided other than this car has a few RLTA championships to it's name. Looking up the race history shows the car simply contests more races than the competitors in both 2016 and 2015.

The video as provided had zero data about the car setups so there really isn't much to honestly go off. A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Some of us might not be astronauts, but the engineers at NASA probably know more about building rockets than a group of high school kids. I know who I'd rather get my advice from mate.

59

Here is the picture of the 2015 season Paddy. Look at the points spread....

decom_500e73cad50a052fd1f6293be3003dc6_59e93e1ba7f31.pngdecom_500e73cad50a052fd1f6293be3003dc6_59e93e1ba7f31.png
Author60

I guess that I shouldn't point out that on those rounds that the second place finisher showed up, Cody beat him 3 out of 4 times?

I have no issue that you have your own opinions, but it's getting a little tiring watching you change the subject and moving the goalposts of the conversation. To repeat myself in the article; ''Air Lift Performance themselves, while fully confident in their product, will say that a coilover system is perfect for a vehicle that doesn’t require on-the-fly height adjustability, such as a track car.'

This article isn't saying that air is the best thing in the world and that coilovers are shit, it's just telling the story of a guy who's competing on air and enjoying success with it. Nothing more, nothing less.

61

Hey Paddy, my friend Mikey Nipples has a Miata with a roll cage, and he hates air bags. He once got an autograph from Juan Pablo Montoya (right after he crashed into the jet truck) and JPM said if his car was on bags he would have hit two Jet Trucks. Mikey Nipples knows a thing or two about a thing or two, and Montoya would never do time attack because it's muddying up real race car driving. Also, i know people who drive fast and I have the fastest Geo Storm in our county. It's even faster than Gerard Butlers.

62

Awesome. I haven't got a clue what you're talking about, not a fricken clue. Love the comment though...

63

Hey Paddy, long-time fan, first-time commenter... I love what you've done with Project GTI. I picked up a mkVI GTI last year and am slowly upgrading along a similar path as yours. I'm surprised I'm the first to bite on your little nugget about GTI owners being excited... What's up?! Do I smell an impending giveaway??
Keep up the good work, mate. Cheers.

Author64

You'll have to wait and see :)

65

Seems to me the only way to get a proper test of coilover vs. Air is to have two identical cars with same weight, hp, brakes, tires and alignments with same pro driver setting times in both. Record section times to see which car was faster where and then decide. I'm not for one or the other, I'm a believer of function over form 100%.
As far as the people saying he shows up to more events ect is crap because if he's winning the events and taking podiums doesn't really matter who shows up or not. That's racing as well, look at what happened to Ferrari in f1. I could show up to a season of auto cross or time attack events and still not score enough points to win the entire season. Yes you get points for showing up but if you are consistently on top of the heap can't take away his winning. How many cars showed up to event in his class ect? I love to see a "Privateer" do well in any motor sport. Makes it that much more sweet.

66

If you weren't aware of things like suspension and steering geometry then yeah, you would definitely want to adjust your ride height on the fly. "Just got to the track, phsssst.. race-mode."

67

Steering geometry? Blasphemy.

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