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'Torlon' resin for Risi Ferrari suspensions

The Risi Competizione ALMS GT team in Houston, TX, has reported improved performance from the suspension bushes of its three Ferrari 360 GT racecars since upgrading them to 'Torlon' 4435 polyamide-imide resin material. Produced by Solvay Advanced Polymers in Alpharetta, GA, the PAI resin is now used to make the bushes by the team's Houston supplier, Drake Plastics, using its extruded 'Torlon' PAI seamless tube capability

During an ALMS race, the eight upper and eight lower suspension bushings in each car will undergo a huge amount of strain with no lubrication or maintenance. Worn bushings allow lateral movement of suspension components, which results in increased wear on the tyres, reduced stability under cornering and braking, and poor handling in general.

"The press-fit suspension bushes must withstand severe impact loading without fracturing, wearing or creeping," said Drake president Steve Quance. "Before they began using bushings made from 'Torlon', the Risi team was changing bushings on their cars after nearly every race. Team engineers started seeking a solution before running the Daytona 24 Hours, where a car's handling becomes very sloppy due to bushing wear that occurs during the race."

Risi engineer Richard Taylor added: "Since 'Torlon' 4435 was used, the bushings have exhibited zero wear in four races, including Sebring, Daytona and Le Mans."

'Torlon' PAI is claimed to have unmatched wear performance under severe service conditions without external lubrication and at high temperatures (up to 26degC). It is said to offer "metal-like" thermal expansion, eliminating fit and clearance problems. The material's high strength and stiffness enables it to replace metals in many applications.

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