Monthly Archives: January 2014

Track Tested Focus ST Parts

South Georgia Motorsports Park was the site for the season kickoff for the SCCA Dixie Region Auto X time trials. Cold and wet weather in the morning eventually cleared for sunny and near perfect conditions the rest of the day – an excellent opportunity for our Steeda Autosports specially prepared 2013 Focus ST to show exactly what it can do on a tight and extremely challenging autocross circuit.

At Steeda Autosports, we are continually testing the products we design, engineer, and manufacture under a wide variety of conditions – on the street, on the race track, at the drag strip, and even on autocross circuits. “Real World” testing like this at a variety of different venues provides us the opportunity to further validate the performance of our products, to do valuable durability testing, and also to ensure that the products we offer live up to our expectations as well as the expectations of our customers.

Our core DNA dictates that we continually push the boundaries of performance everyday because our customers expect nothing less. While plenty of aggressive testing has been done to some of these components we know we need to push it even further. “We needed to really hammer some of these parts,” explained Scott Boda, Steeda’s Director of Manufacturing. “While most of our customers will never put their cars through some of the testing we do, we know that somewhere, there are die-hard gear heads that will push performance limits and we want them to have confidence in their Steeda performance parts”.

At the event we were testing several new motor mounts and a couple other new key suspension components that have great promise for raising the bar of Focus ST performance even higher. With just 3 passes on the Steeda Focus ST we were able to cover the track in a blistering time of just 52 seconds, allowing the ST to win its class out of the 71 cars attending the event! While many people might think we had a professional autocross driver at the wheels for this specific test, we purposely opted to put Scott Boda behind the wheel to see what a seasoned drag racer could do when the road in front of him had many challenging turns. Suffice to say, the Steeda Focus ST carried the mail and made an autocross hero out of Scott!

Director of Manufacturing, Scott Boda, with Steeda's Development Focus ST

Director of Manufacturing, Scott Boda, with Steeda's Development Focus ST

Overall, it was a fun and very exciting day at the event and our test results provided us some key and very valuable information. The next validation we will be performing will be at the drag strip where we will push the Steeda Focus ST harder than we ever have before down the quarter mile – all in the quest of validating our parts and ensuring that they are the very best that they can be. Stay tuned – we will keep you posted!!

SteedaSpeed Matters

Not So Slippery When Wet

While most of America was nestled up in their comfy warm houses recently, Steeda was at the Transportation Research Center (TRC) test track in East Liberty, Ohio with a leading tire manufacturer testing various tire applications to evaluate tread noise, test tire adhesion properties, and improve overall tire performance in both wet, snowy, and frigid conditions. TRC is one of the few tracks in the world to offer this level of testing sophistication and only our vehicles were there during this comprehensive testing session. Closed to the public, this facility has virtually every road surface imaginable and also a vast variety of skid pads, high and low speed ovals and also various race track configurations.

Steeda Mustang

At Steeda, our regularly conducted tire tests occur on the race track (Sebring), drag strip (South Georgia Motorsports Park), on the street, and at special road surface research centers like the TRC. How many other aftermarket companies are dedicated enough to do cold and wet weather tire and suspension testing in addition to the more normal temperature and dry condition testing that we do? This is what separates Steeda from the rest as we continually serve the best interest of our customers in everything we do. We test against the elements so that when you need our products to perform, they will under any conditions – both good and bad.

This collaboration of Steeda and tire engineers had the combined mission of refining and developing the latest emerging tire technology with the quest of producing a tire that provides not only superior performance, but also superior safety under the wide variety of driving conditions you may encounter.

Tire testing is no easy task and is virtually impossible for the everyday driver to properly and completely evaluate tires accurately because, in addition to the “seat of the pants” experience you obtain by doing this for many-many years, complicated and often proprietary equipment is utilized to accurately measure a tires performance characteristics under varying conditions and temperatures. Following is a brief, yet accurate summary of what tire testing is all about.

What makes up a tire today?

Tires today are extremely complex in their construction and manufacturing. While they might look like simple pieces of rubber in a round shape, that assessment couldn’t be farther from the truth. The inner workings of modern tires are incredibly complex and are becoming more and more complex with every new generation of tires that evolves. There’s a vast amount of materials used in sidewall and tread pattern production, including steel, polyester, Kevlar, and other more unique materials. Additionally, there are a vast variety of different rubber compounds used to produce different heat ratings, speed ratings, and load limits. Add it all together, and you can readily see that there is a substantial amount of engineering and chemistry that goes into the development of each tire today. These added complications are a necessary ingredient in formulating a tire because incremental improvements require them.

The Tire Testing Process

Usually – non-laboratory tire testing is performed on a group of tires with similar performance characteristics. Specifically, a group of high performance tires will likely be tested together at the same day under the same driving conditions. With each new test, the tires will be mounted onto the same vehicle and undergo the same tests in order to offer consistency to the testing process. By conducting the same tests, it’s possible to test how different variables affect a particular tire as compared to other tires. Some of the tests we employ address everything from braking on dry and on wet surfaces, handling at low and at high speeds, and handling during acceleration and deceleration.

The test results allow our engineers to compare tires on much more than how the tire looks in theory on paper or how much it costs to manufacture. Instead, we are able to find tires that are perfect for the vehicles we manufacture parts for and make sure that our performance parts leverages the maximum amount of performance available. In summary – tire testing offers excellent insight as we select and recommend tires for our Ford performance enthusiasts, as well as confirmation that our performance parts and accessories perform as designed under all driving conditions. It is one of many “behind the scenes” things we do on behalf of our Ford performance customers – we affectionately call it: “The Steeda Difference”

SteedaSpeed Matters