Why the bias against front wheel drive cars?


Dr. Love
02-23-2005, 06:08 PM
Why do people always say things like "a fwd car is not a true sports car" and "I would never want a fwd car"?

I think we can all agree that there are countless fwd cars which can accelerate very well and handle very well. So then why do some people dislike fwd cars? I guess you do have to adopt sort of a different style of driving when taking corners real fast, but so what. I would like to hear arguments for this.

kfoote
02-24-2005, 10:54 AM
The biggest problems are that when accelerating, the weight transfers to the rear tires, giving less traction to the drive wheels and the front tires are being overworked when cornering by being required to both apply power and steer the vehicle. the net result is significant inherent understeer. Basically, the front tires end up doing everything, and the rear tires keep the trunk from dragging on the road (exaggeration, but it shows the point). With equal power, handling, tires, weight distribution, etc, a RWD will handle better and be faster than a RWD car.

evil6remlin
02-24-2005, 12:29 PM
Another problem is torque steer. Since the front wheels are putting down the power as well as turning the car, when you shift and then mash the gas the steering wheel wants to rip out of your hands if your making any decent power. A limited slip differential can help with this but it is still an issue when making big power on a fwd car.

Gohan Ryu
02-24-2005, 06:49 PM
1/4 mile purists are against anything that could reduce traction. When accelerating, the laws of physics dictate that FWD cars lose traction on the drive wheels because of the weight shift. Purists hate that kinda shit - they don't care about better handling, they just want acceleration.

Also, there are people who have no idea what they are talking about and they say "I'd never drive a FWD" only because they heard someone else say it.

Dr. Love
02-25-2005, 12:51 PM
Do fwd cars have any advantages in racing? When going through a sharp curve, couldn't a fwd car start accelerating hard as soon as he hits the apex of the curve, while a rwd car would have to wait until he is almost entirely out of the curve before he can accelerate hard or he'll spin out. Is this true?

drdisque
02-25-2005, 05:51 PM
nope, a properly set up RWD will be able to accelerate at apex as long as you apply the power smoothly. On a FWD car if you apply power too abruptly on exit you can easily power-on understeer off the corner too.

kfoote
02-28-2005, 01:28 PM
All else being equal, a properly set up FWD car will be easier to drive in very slick conditions or rain than a RWD car will, which will usually result in quicker lap times.

In the Miata, I am genarally on the power sooner than FWD cars. In many cases, the inherent understeer of FWD cars means that if the car starts to understeer, you have to lift completely out of the gas a lot to get the car to stop understeering, where there are other options in a RWD car. Also in a RWD car, once the car starts to rotate, it's usually easier to maintain the desired arc through the corner. In the Miata, I'm usually full power well before the apex of most corners.

psychorallyfreak
02-28-2005, 10:00 PM
In many cases, the inherent understeer of FWD cars means that if the car starts to understeer, you have to lift completely out of the gas a lot to get the car to stop understeering...

Hmm. When I was racing my dad's 924 Turbo, I actually had to lift COMPLETELY off the gas to get the car to rotate...

kfoote
03-01-2005, 11:03 AM
The 924 does have some understeer in it, but it can usually be dialed out of the car with an alignment change. Also, a light tap of the brakes with your left foot mid-corner will get the back of the car to rotate without lifting out of the gas. This technique works to an extent in FWD/AWD cars, but not nearly as well as in a RWD car, and the advantages of doing this are bigger with a turbo car.

TheStang00
03-03-2005, 06:40 PM
powerful rwd cars can actually get out of corners faster than fwd, they get better grip and they dont understeer as much. if you step on it out of a corner with fwd u have a tendency to push, rwd u will not get this nearly as much if at all.you can steer into a corner harder with rwd and exit the corner at a higher speed. and like stated earlier they are better off the line. also they will usually have better wieght distribution. but rwd is not always better... thats for road racing conditions, a fwd will whip a rwd's butt in snow or off road.

SabreKhan
03-04-2005, 12:01 PM
You'll also notice that the only FWD racecars out there are based strictly on street models. There is no such thing as a purpose-built FWD racer because FWD is less than optimal for race conditions (see reasons above, plus your local physics textbook).

FWD cars were created because they're easier and cheaper to build. Not only that, but in normal (street) driving conditions the average driver will be better able to control a FWD car. A RWD car is more likely to spin out in low-traction conditions (rain, snow, dirt, etc.). I spun my 88hp Mustang LX lots of times, and it had no power whatsoever (most of those times were on purpose, though). I have *never* gotten my 100hp Saturn backwards, even on dirt, including the one or two times I was attempting to powerslide in it. The Mustang would still be faster on a track, though. (Though I have gotten the WRX around backwards a few times... most of them in the mud, though)

uranium235powered
03-05-2005, 04:10 PM
The new era is AWD....:biggrin:

TheStang00
03-05-2005, 05:50 PM
AWD is not the new era... those cars run into the same problem as FWD just not as bad, for dry road racing, RWD is the best.

kfoote
03-07-2005, 01:22 PM
AWD is not the new era, it's been around for almost 20 years. The Audi 90 Quattros won IMSA GTO and Trans-Am champoinships in the late 80's. There are several racing series that banned AWD, but still allowed both FWD and RWD because teh AWD cars were too fast (Australian and British Touring cars from the mid-late 90's come to mind).

All else being equal, I'll take the AWD car over the RWD car for racing on dry pavemant. Properly set up, the AWD car will be able to get the power down better coming out of slow and medium speed corners. Yes, it will understeer, though not as bad as a FWD car, and with proper differential setups the understeer can be reduced to a point where it's manageable. It requires a different driving technique, and is harder to really drive fast, but it is a bit faster overall.

stephenp
03-11-2005, 12:10 PM
although i have never even driven an all wheele drive sports car i would believe them to be the best of both worlds(yes ive drivenm them both and see a point for boooth to be favored ) from what i have heard and common physics laws although if all 3 cars have same flywheele horse weight and all else i bet the front wheel to win in most draging events ( until the power begins to exceed that of the traction circle once in 2 but if the power does exceed that of 2nd then it would be the rear wheel and the awd would have too much power chewed up through the drive to win in either case and obvioslly there are exceptions ie little too rev happy on the shift ect but equal driving gears and fly horse theses statements are thought to be true doesnt mean i like fwd more for that reason i prefer rwd for performance but fwd works as a daily driver

Lafora
03-12-2005, 12:54 AM
http://www.auto-ware.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=267&an=0&page=0#267

This is a good read.

first half of ortiz's article will answer your question.

ViperJ
03-13-2005, 09:58 PM
I got this from http://www.epinions.com/content_4158759044

Why doesn't FWD work?
Now the problem doing this in FWD is the fact that the front tires do the job of both turning AND driving. So you really can't afford to lose traction at the front. The other thing is that FWD cars do not naturally oversteer. They understeer at high speeds. Again, try the shopping cart. Instead of pushing from behind, try pulling the cart from the front. Pay attention to the direction the front wheels are facing in a curve and then try to pull harder in that direction. The cart will probably start skidding outwards and lose ability to hold on to a tight curve.

Typically, to get the the oversteer you want with FWD, that requires hard, short, quick braking. Some drivers and cars can do this with the brake pedal, but usually, this requires the e-brake. And of course, because you can't afford to completely lose traction because this will just send you out in a straight line to the outside of the curve, you need to make sure your entry angle is a little more shallow. It's very hard to chain drifts in FWD, because the rear axle is just giving you passive sliding friction, which slows you down (hence the name "a**-dragging"). Often, it also requires extra suspension tuning so that the rear suspension is harder than the front, and also some lower-traction tires in the rear. So FWD is always at a disadvantage to RWD in a race should you choose to drift because it has such a slow entry speed. Of course, as a general racing rule, what really matters is the line, and if you take the ideal line, you've got the fastest outcome whether you're drifting or gripping.

Zgringo
04-14-2005, 12:45 AM
The ideal setup is a car that has just enough weight on the front wheels to control the car, In other words almost all the weight transfered to the rear.
Good examples are the Funnies and AA/F dragsters.

2of9
04-23-2005, 11:55 AM
FWD cars are much better than RWD cars in winter though!

whmccormic21
11-20-2005, 02:25 AM
the source of my disdain for FWD is when i hear all these kids talking about taking their FWD cars out to go drifting. And first of all that is not drifting it is sliding out of control whereas drifting is a controlled loss of control with a set angle to be reached. not speeding up to 45mph and pulling the E-brake. if that was all it were than anyone could do it :)

EVOclipse
11-21-2005, 09:22 AM
The real reason you cant chain drifts in a FWD is because its to hard to control onces the car's weight is moving around in the back, Unlike RWD there is not throttle to modulate....and you cant just wait for the wheels to even out on there own, its just like the oversteer snapback you see on games like GT4, its a pendulum and its hard to stop/straighten out.



like the dreaded flatspin of top gun, although yes, sometimes you can prevent it from getting to the point of no return.

CassiesMan
11-24-2005, 05:42 PM
like the dreaded flatspin of top gun, although yes, sometimes you can prevent it from getting to the point of no return.

Yeah, but that was caused by flying htorugh a wake and not his drivetrain, lol. FWD is supposed to be better from a roll race. Less drivetrain loss. At least, thats my udnerstanding, not that gearing or power out put has ANYTHING to do with roll racing [/sarcasm]

LVApex
01-25-2006, 03:03 PM
I got this from http://www.epinions.com/content_4158759044

Why doesn't FWD work?
Now the problem doing this in FWD is the fact that the front tires do the job of both turning AND driving. So you really can't afford to lose traction at the front. The other thing is that FWD cars do not naturally oversteer. They understeer at high speeds. Again, try the shopping cart. Instead of pushing from behind, try pulling the cart from the front. Pay attention to the direction the front wheels are facing in a curve and then try to pull harder in that direction. The cart will probably start skidding outwards and lose ability to hold on to a tight curve.

Typically, to get the the oversteer you want with FWD, that requires hard, short, quick braking. Some drivers and cars can do this with the brake pedal, but usually, this requires the e-brake. And of course, because you can't afford to completely lose traction because this will just send you out in a straight line to the outside of the curve, you need to make sure your entry angle is a little more shallow. It's very hard to chain drifts in FWD, because the rear axle is just giving you passive sliding friction, which slows you down (hence the name "a**-dragging"). Often, it also requires extra suspension tuning so that the rear suspension is harder than the front, and also some lower-traction tires in the rear. So FWD is always at a disadvantage to RWD in a race should you choose to drift because it has such a slow entry speed. Of course, as a general racing rule, what really matters is the line, and if you take the ideal line, you've got the fastest outcome whether you're drifting or gripping.

Ya, who ever wrote that, has never driven a properly setup FWD car before.

The big problem with FWD from a track performance standpoint isnt how it handles (All cars follow the same laws of physics), but rather what happens when you start to apply throttle coming out of a corner.....

But any way, to quote my self from another thread on this
See, the biggest problem with FWD is that as you start to apply throttle coming out of a turn the car tends to understeer more, where as with a RWD platform the car will tend to oversteer as you apply throttle. Theis problem with FWD becomes more and more of a problem as the chassis gets more power too... which is why you dont see FWD super cars. So with relitivly low powered cars, FWD, RWD AWD... makes little difference as far as lap times, assuming proper tuning and driving, but as you get in to the Higer HP cars, the problems with FWD become more and more apparent. This is also why people seem to think AWD handles so much better... thing is it doesn't (Most AWD cars acutally Understeer alot... Talk to the AWD open track drivers, and ask why they "hook" the turns...much to the annoyance of the rest of us), it just powers out of corners better.

:2cents:

DinanM3_S2
01-25-2006, 10:51 PM
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7779894845558014372&q=%22top+gear%22

Good watch for this issue.

LVApex
01-26-2006, 11:04 AM
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7779894845558014372&q=%22top+gear%22

Good watch for this issue.

Seen it, and all it really proves is 1. BMW's traction control system is way too intrusive (Training wheels any one? but at least you can turn it off) and 2. she has little concept as to how to drive a FWD car to get the most out of it...


The only way your going to conclusivly show the differences between FWD RWD and AWD is if you make a test where all the cars have the same weight, wheel base, and Tire size/compound. other wise you are as much fighting the individual car MFG's design flaws as you are the cars drive train layout. :2cents:

nikita7
03-01-2006, 08:19 AM
Understeer is a very very very frustrating feature of FWD cars. My grand prix loves to do it every time I take turn a bit faster than usual. In the rain if I turn under moderate acceleration car stops turning and goes ... well across the lane I wanted to turn in forcing me to get off the gas. But the positive about it is that understeer is much more easier to manage than oversteer.

immortal_omni
08-27-2006, 08:52 AM
although i have never even driven an all wheele drive sports car i would believe them to be the best of both worlds(yes ive drivenm them both and see a point for boooth to be favored ) from what i have heard and common physics laws although if all 3 cars have same flywheele horse weight and all else i bet the front wheel to win in most draging events ( until the power begins to exceed that of the traction circle once in 2 but if the power does exceed that of 2nd then it would be the rear wheel and the awd would have too much power chewed up through the drive to win in either case and obvioslly there are exceptions ie little too rev happy on the shift ect but equal driving gears and fly horse theses statements are thought to be true doesnt mean i like fwd more for that reason i prefer rwd for performance but fwd works as a daily driver

did you just say that you would pick a fwd to win in a drag race given everything is the same. going of my physics lessons, i would pick the fwd to LOSE. given everything is the same, i would bet the RWD to win only because the AWD, MIGHT have too much driveline loss but its initial acceleration might make up for that. given everything is the same, i would put money on the RWD, but thats just me

Polygon
08-28-2006, 05:12 PM
Why do people always say things like "a fwd car is not a true sports car" and "I would never want a fwd car"?

This is because uneducated people equate FWD with understeer, which is a myth. If FWD is bad for performance someone needs to tell Alfa Romeo, who hass been using FWD cars in racing and beating RWD BMWs.

slideways...
09-14-2006, 02:55 PM
and no one told honda either. integras beat 325s all the time in SCCA. also there are a couple crx's that destroy everything in time attacks in japan. the fastest time attack car for a while in all of japan was a crx. but in order to make a truly fast FWD track car, it needs to be set up with a super stiff ass end so the rear tires slip at the same time as the front. and a wider track helps too. although these examples exist, its far easier and cheaper to make a RWD car handle, accelerate, brake, and do everything else well than any other setup.


btw, for all of you who think you need a FWD car in the winter and snow, you just need to learn how to drive. i drove my lowered 240sx around all last winter and never crashed, spun, got stuck, or anything. no abs, no traction control, RWD, lowered, some basic M+S tires, and thats it. in minnesota.

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