Whether your motorsports pleasure involves cornering, straight line speed, off-road or any combination of the former, managing how your drivetrain allocates power is an important task. In most cars, some sort of differential that allows the driven wheels to turn at different rates is necessary to preserve drivability and improve traction.
Most economy cars will have a simple “open” differential where a free spinning wheel will rob the power from wheels with traction – ultimately lowering cornering speeds and traction under hard acceleration. Limited slip differentials preserve some of the equitable distribution of power, and a spool just locks everything together.
Wavetrac specializes in torque biasing differentials, and we stopped by the booth at SEMA 2016 for a closer look.
“You can see it’s a gear-driven differential which is nice because there’s hardly any maintenance or parts to worry about, and we do offer a transferable lifetime warranty. We have people running these in all sorts of different applications; road race, hill climb, autocross, rally cross and more. Everything from a FWD 900 hp Honda to Corvette and nine-inch diffs,” introduced Ryan Vieau of Wavetrac.
For those unfamiliar with quite how a torque biasing differential works, we asked Vieau to educate us a little on the inner working of these parts;
“One of the main features is the pre-loader hub. It’s a cam system, so whenever it detects that one side is losing grip or traction these tow pieces ramp up on each other and create tension in the diff, making sure to put down power to both drive wheels,” he explained.
Strength and weight are always a compromise racers have to make when it comes to driveline components. Wavetrac is conscious of this trade-off and engineers their differentials to deliver the best of both worlds.
“We try to keep the gear package lightweight. There are four pinions that are a little bit smaller, but they’re still nice and strong. We’ve beefed-up the interface between the side gears, we also have a carbon fiber friction material inside the diff itself. It helps with performance and is not really a wearing part,” Vieau continued.
Differentials like this have the added usability of being street-friendly for cars that see more than track time; “You’re not going know the differential is there until you really start pushing the car. It’s not like other clutch-type diffs where if you’re going really slow in the paddock or parking lot you can be wrestling with the steering wheel,” Vieau concluded.