Active aero and suspension, traction control, torque vectoring—all ways computers have made cars faster. They have yet to make the most of where rubber meets the road though, as Lamborghini has been experimenting with active alignment control, which is already cutting multiple seconds from a prototype's lap times.
Described as an "Active Wheel Carrier," this tech was tested by Car and Driver on a Lamborghini Huracan Evo at the Nardo handling course in Italy. The appeal of such a system is obvious: Street alignment settings compromise track performance, and vice versa. Extreme settings can also impact drivability, not to mention tire wear. But why compromise when you can technologize?
The active alignment was explained to the publication by Lamborghini chief technical officer Rouven Mohr, who said Audi experimented with the tech previously. It uses a new style of hub with two rotating flanges driven by 48-volt motors to control toe and camber settings. They can tweak toe by up to 6.6 degrees and camber by 8, to as much as 5.5 degrees of negative camber, at speeds up to 60 degrees per second. So, it's all reacting in the blink of an eye.
Toe is typically kept at a neutral zero for road cars to limit tire wear (it's giving Rivian owners headaches), but some is useful for achieving the fastest lap time. Toe-in, with the tires pizza'd instead of french-fried, increases stability, while toe-out (the opposite) enhances agility. Camber meanwhile guarantees your car gets the most of its contact patch when the body rolls during cornering, even if it gives up some straight-line stability. If a car can keep all of these at their ideal settings throughout a corner, Lamborghini reportedly says you can boost cornering force by 25 percent.
As for what that does, Car and Driver reported feeling increased grip in slower corners, and more stability in fast ones, giving their driver the confidence to cut their lap time by 4.8 seconds. Even Lamborghini's factory drivers benefited, reportedly gaining 2.8 seconds over a lap. That'd make for a roughly 2 percent improvement over the whole lap, given a lap time of 2:36 as achieved by the similar Huracan Technica. It doesn't sound like much on paper, but it may as well be a minute.
Lamborghini sees other possible benefits of the system, from allowing more balanced tire setups to softer springs, increasing ride quality. Still, it's enormously complex, and must be optimized alongside other performance enhancements from stability control to active aero—none of which the prototype reportedly had.
It's unclear when the tech could first be used on a road car, but one candidate could be the Huracan's successor. It's expected to debut in 2024 with a twin-turbo V8, with a possible redline of 10,000 rpm and plug-in hybrid power. If the engine's taking such a huge leap forward, one can't help imagining the chassis will match its stride.
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