How to tune a drag car for radials – Video

We chat with renowned tuner Shane Tecklenburg at No Mercy 9

Videographers: Luke Nieuwhof

WHILE in America for No Mercy 9 – arguably the biggest radial-tyre drag racing event in the world – we bumped into tuner Shane Tecklenburg. Shane is one of the leading motorsport tuners in the world and has dabbled in just about everything – from salt-lake land speed record cars to circuit racers and drag cars. He does it all around the world too, from the EKanoo Lexus RC-F in the Middle East, to Kyle Hopf’s Camaro in Queensland.

 Shane believes that tuning a drag car to go fast on a radial tyre poses one of the biggest challenges because of the tyre construction. Unlike a traditional slick tyre, a radial has a construction similar to a normal road tyre, so it has very stiff sidewall which makes it difficult to load on the startline without the tyre spinning. It has a very small window between loading up and wrinkling as a slick would, and spinning the tyre. And unlike when a slick starts to spin or shake, once a radial lets go it has virtually no grip, so there’s a very small optimal operating window, requiring a sticky track, a switched-on tuner, a good suspension set-up with plenty of movement to allow the tyre to load, and in some circumstances even traction control.

Jet Martin’s Commodore finishes in the top eight at No Mercy

When you add in the fact that most of the high-end radial cars are making 1000hp at the startline when the driver releases the transbrake, and 4000hp by the finish line, it makes it extremely challenging.

Shane’s job is all about finding the limit of the tyre and the track on any given pass and managing the power to get as close to that limit as possible. It was interesting to hear what he had to say about it all; check out the video.