Tire Testing For Motorsports & Race Cars

Motorsports Tire Testing

The world’s leading motorsport organizations rely on Calspan for their tire testing. With many years of testing experience and the most powerful tire testing machine in the world, Calspan is the perfect place to test and evaluate new innovative tire designs. Our secure testing facility and dedicated IT infrastructure ensure intellectual property and test data are always secure and protected.

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High Speed Testing

High performance tires often operate at elevated speeds for long periods of time, so Calspan’s tire testing machine is capable of running at high speeds for very long periods of time. This makes the machine perfect for evaluating tire performance and durability in fully dynamic conditions. Multiple camera angles and strobe lights are available to study standing wave effects and other behaviors.

Thermal Testing

Temperature has a significant impact on the performance of any tire. Fully understanding tire thermal properties under various speeds, inclination angles and inflation pressures is important when designing tires and trying to maximize their efficiency on vehicles. Using a variety of different sensors to measure such things as external surface, internal carcass and gas temperatures, Calspan can record the complete thermal state of a tire during any test. Additionally, we can advise on dedicated test procedures that produce high resolution thermal data for use in thermal tire modeling and tire material characterization.

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Lap Simulation

Calspan partners with the most innovative motorsports companies to perform tire testing in realistic conditions using lap simulation, whereby actual vehicle test data is imported into our machine which can subject a tire, with great repeatability and reproducibility through the same maneuvers. We can also quickly evaluate what different camber settings (static or dynamic) do to tire grip levels and wear characteristics during a full stint at a race track. In addition, we can simulate severe handling maneuvers such as double-lane changes to evaluate transient performance of different tire designs or sizes.
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Take a tour of our testing facility:

Capabilities/Features

Race Tire Testing

  • Calspan is the world’s leading race tire testing lab with over 40 years of tire testing, working with all top-level racing series.
  • The load, speed and torque capabilities of Calspan exceed the capabilities of most race tires.
  • Collect data to build tire models to support vehicle simulation and lap time simulation studies.
  • Accurately characterize tire sensitivities to tuning parameters such as pressure and camber to find ideal settings for different tracks or drivers.

High Speed Testing

  • Perform extended testing at speeds over 200 mph/320 km/h on a flat surface to measure high speed durability and performance.
  • A powerful road motor ensures constant speed throughout testing and allows for very rapid speed changes (0.8 g).
  • Perform complete force and moment tests at high speeds at realistic operating conditions for motorsports and aircraft tires.
  • Investigate and measure standing wave effects and other high speed phenomena.

Thermal Testing

  • Quantify thermal response of rubber compounds and their effect on tire grip.
  • Take real-time measurement of both internal and external tire temperatures.
  • Use a fully integrated FLIR IR camera for detailed tread, sidewall and bead temperature studies.
  • Collect data to fully parameterize thermal tire models.

Lap Simulation

  • Play back lap data (from telemetry or simulation) to measure tire performance in extremely realistic conditions.
  • Powerful road and wheel motors allow for high acceleration/deceleration rates to accurately follow speed profiles.
  • Validate tire models in realistic tire conditions.

Customer Benefits

Calspan customers that engage our expertise in the areas of Race Tire Testing, High Speed Testing, Thermal Testing and Lap Simulation receive innumerable benefits, including:

  • Testing is typically not limited by the machine, so tires can be tested in the most extreme conditions.
  • Using tire data to support the design of suspension kinematics to ensure maximized tire efficiency.
  • Changing different tire parameters independently of a specific maneuver.
  • Understanding how temperature affects tire performance.
  • Understanding contact patch behavior in highly dynamic conditions.
  • Safely carrying out studies on changed tire or vehicle parameters and immediately identifying any potential issues before putting the tire or vehicle on the track.
  • Understanding warm-up and degradation effects on a corner-by-corner and track-by-track basis to support race engineering efforts, using the same analysis techniques as on-track.
  • Enjoying easy travel to our facility and amenities like dedicated workstations in direct proximity to test operators.
  • Taking advantage of our team’s expertise, professionalism and flexibility.