Agree with you, Scott. Not a big fan of the bending idea as permanent rule, but thought it was worth bringing up. Though I didn’t realize it was that hard to find a shop to do it.
I think we’re lumping a lot of things under “suspension adjustability” here. Technically, our current suspension setup IS adjustable for camber/caster/toe. Technically, someone COULD make camber/caster adjustments on a per-track basis to optimize. That said, I’m guessing most people don’t make these adjustments from track to track. I think Sandro even said he never touches it, and I’ve heard that he does okay. It’s possible this is because our cars have never been able to “over do it” on the front camber – setting it as far negative as possible is the best setting for all tracks.
Also, I think the “adjustability” that really starts getting down the time/price rathole is when you can make dampening adjustments like bound/rebound. My impression is those are much more likely spread out the haves from the have-nots. Camber/caster changes would also fall into this problem if the adjustability was SO much improved that you start having different settings be ideal for different tracks. On one track you may want -5 on the left, but on another track, you may only want -4. Right now, there doesn’t appear to be a track where -3 is preferred over -4, so there’s effectively no adjustability needed there. But that leaves a gap between the people who have been willing to make tower/housing modifications (or have cars that naturally had sagging towers) to get to -4 and those, like me, who have not.
It sounds like what we’re talking about here is adjustability for the sake of bringing cars to parity vs. making the cars faster. So the question needs to focus on – what are the elements of the cars that are making them unequal? Body damage, trailing arms bending, strut/shock towers sagging – those are what make our cars different. I perceive suspension height changes to be more about a cheap way to get the cars “back to stock balance” rather than providing any kind of major performance improvement.
By the same token, if there was a rule change in this area, I’d like it to be around allowing camber changes that get to -4 so that I’m on an equal playing field with the other cars I’m racing against. While I’m not sitting here trying to argue that my -3 degrees is why I’m running multiple seconds behind the leaders, that’s not really the point – the point is purely the mentality of saying “the cars around me are the same as mine and have the same capabilities my car has, so any difference in place in a race is purely due to my skill levels”.
To that point, I get why there’s reluctance to going to anything that’s adjustable. It’s not so much that people need to know all the ways it CAN be used as a competitive advantage – it’s that adjustability is a potential unintended enabler of inequalities in our cars. Whether that ends up being realized or not is sort of beside the point – in this case, I think it’s the perception that matters, not whether or not people actually can use it as a way to gain an edge. Since suspension is such a black art to begin with, it’s not really easy to educate and convince people that “hey, change XX really doesn’t provide a competitive advantage”.