Keeping it tight en route to victory!

The Ferrari 488 GT3 from Rinaldi Racing posed us with several challenges

In this year’s third VLN race, held on 24 June 2017, “Wochenspiegel Team Monschau” chalked up its first ever outright victory. What is more, no Ferrari had topped the podium for years. No wonder Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz and Jochen Krumbach, who drove the 488 GT3 no. 22, were in such a celebratory mood afterwards. The vehicle was handled by Rinaldi Racing, who have been relying on BILSTEIN’s expertise for six years now. However, the new Ferrari presented suspension engineer Daniel Pitsch with a major challenge in 2016.

After we had previously handled the Ferrari 458 GT3 for Rinaldi Racing, the car’s successor, the 488 GT3, first delivered to the client teams in 2016, proved to be something of a capricious diva. At least, this applied to the installation situation of the shock absorbers on the front axle, where a double-wishbone design meant that there was less space than in the average ladies’ handbag. “The clearance between the fixing points was tiny, and conditions were also really compact elsewhere”, explained Daniel Pitsch, who was tasked with modifying the four-way adjustable Modular Damper System (MDS) for the cramped installation space, which proved to be painstaking work.

To this end, our Motorsport department designed new shock-absorber housings and moved the gas compartment outside. “A reservoir connected via hoses would have been too precarious, as bits can easily be ripped off in an accident. That’s why we opted for a rigidly connected shock-absorber bridge that also held the adjusting wheels with which the rebound and three levels of bump are controlled”, said Pitsch. At the same time, this connection provides advantages in terms of what is known as “hysteresis”, as elastic hose connections can noticeably weaken the damping force as a result of even a slight deformation. Over time, what starts out as a relatively harmless effect can worsen and become a real problem.

However, our Motorsport department is renowned for finding smart individual solutions. Our team is helped here by its total familiarity with the Nürburgring as a test track and its experience with countless different racing vehicles. When we became a technical partner of Rinaldi Racing six years ago, the team mainly used the Porsche 997 GT3 R. We had done lots of testing together prior to this, and were extremely excited about the performance potential. Eventually, they got to work with racing cars bearing the famous Cavallino Rampante logo.