NASA Pro Racing - Interview with Chuck Schwynoch, CEO, Maximum Motorsports Road Racing at all levels requires great dedication and team work. Even the one-man grassroots racer needs a little support from time to time. With the growing ...
NASA Pro Racing - Interview with Chuck Schwynoch, CEO, Maximum Motorsports
Road Racing at all levels requires great dedication and team work. Even the one-man grassroots racer needs a little support from time to time. With the growing competitiveness of the NASA American Iron series, nationwide, drivers and teams are continually looking for that next edge to improve their cars. A long time partner to racers has been Maximum Motorsports. They are an open door, giving all types of advice and support to their customers, and even to racers that do not use their well engineered products. We met with Chuck Schwynoch of Maximum Motorsports to find out more.
Q. Maximum Motorsports has been a long time supporter of the NASA American Iron series, what are the key drivers as a manufacturer supporting the series?
A. When the American Iron series began, the rules allowed the types of modifications we were designing and manufacturing for our customers' street-driven cars. The AI series allowed us to test our parts, and show how well they performed on the track, in a competitive venue. No other race series is as well suited for this as American Iron.
Q. What are the roots of Maximum Motorsports? And what separates MM from other manufacturers?
A. Maximum Motorsports began in 1992. The Mustang aftermarket industry was starting a rapid expansion, as the numbers of people interested in modifying their Mustangs increased at an amazing rate. The Mustang quickly became the car of choice among gearheads and enthusiasts who enjoyed improving the performance of their car. I saw an opportunity to put my background crewing in SCCA and IMSA to work, as most of the parts offered for the Mustang chassis and suspension at that time were rather primitive.
Maximum Motorsports is different from the majority of other manufacturers of suspension components in that we consider proper engineering to be an integral part of the design process. We are not fabricators trying to make something different from the stock part. We have several degreed engineers here. We analyze the problem, and design an engineered solution. We take great pride in the parts we manufacture, as none of us here at Maximum Motorsports would want any part on our own car that was not the very best. By the best, I mean a part that does its job well, and also looks good doing it. We don't cut corners on quality. We design and manufacture our parts up to a standard of quality, not down to a price level.
Q. Tell us about some of the key parts MM produces that make the difference in today's racing cars?
A. We redesigned the entire Mustang suspension. On solid-axle equipped cars, we convert the rear suspension to a form of a three-link, by using a Torque-arm plus a Panhard bar. We make huge changes in the front geometry with our K-member and front control arms. We strive to produce every part needed to turn a Mustang into a world-class performance vehicle.
Q. What is the importance of using equipment and parts that MM produces as "systems", versus drivers using parts of upgrade equipment systems?
A. If someone wants to mix and match components from multiple vendors, they must assume the risk of developing and testing their own suspension set-up. We design our parts to work together, and to improve the Mustang as a whole. Trying to mix together parts from multiple sources, and therefore possibly different design philosophies, may not produce the best handling car.
Q. The #91 MM Mustang is using an IRS rear suspension, what drove you to this decision, how has the effort been going so far?
A. We had a growing number of customers who called us and said that they were not happy with their IRS, and asked us if they should swap in the proven MM Torque-arm/Panhard Bar rear suspension. We couldn't give them a truthful answer until we had done our own testing to directly compare the Ford IRS to a well-sorted Torque-arm/Panhard bar system. Our AI race car had won races, and set track records, so it was the perfect candidate for comparison. We swapped the rear end over to the IRS, with all of the parts we had developed over the previous year on a street-driven 2003 Cobra. We left the front of the car exactly as it was with the Torque arm suspension. We maintained the exact same rear track width, and even swapped over the same brakes, rotors, calipers, and pads, from the solid axle. We then hit the track for testing. By the end of the first day of testing we were 3 seconds under the AI track record at Buttonwillow. With the IRS we had to learn what alignment and bumpsteer settings worked best. That's what testing told us. Without track testing, we really could not have given our customers an honest answer to their questions about the IRS. Even if our testing had shown the IRS to be grossly inferior to a solid axle, we at least would then be able to help our customers make an informed decision about modifying their car. As it turned out, the IRS is superior to a solid axle fitted with a Torque-arm and Panhard bar, in most aspects.
Q. The #91 MM car so far has been dominate in the American Iron series, for the past two years, what are your racing plans, and will MM be at the Nationals in September?
A. We race at selected West Coast events as part of our test program for new product development. We are not trying to win the regional championship. We will be going to the NASA nationals, where we will be competing to the best of our ability. At the Nationals, as we did at an AI event in Virginia in 2003, we will be providing our customers with support at the track, in the form of set-up advice, car scaling, and alignments. We will also have some products on display, with MM people available to answer questions.
Q. Within the NASA racing world, MM has a big fan base, tell us about your racer support and customer service programs?
A. MM offers contingency prize programs for AI and AIX racers in most of the NASA regions. We also have a contingency program specifically for the NASA Nationals. For details, check the MM website (www.maximummotorsports.com). When we are at NASA events we are always happy to offer our customers technical advice regarding car set-up. We can usually help with car scaling and alignments. We carry a variety of Hawk brake pads with us, for customers who need replacement pads during an event.
Q. What does MM have planned for the future, in terms of racing efforts, new parts and equipment, what direction are you planning on?
A. As of right now, I expect we will continue through the 2007 season with the same program we have been following, as we still have some innovative parts we are developing for the Fox and SN95 Mustangs. We are presently developing parts for the S197 Mustang chassis, and at some point we will be racing the newest Mustang chassis.