Saturday, June 13, 2009

Recommended Reading

I was thinking about writing a new post on choosing spring rates, when I realized I’d have to explain natural frequency. And I don’t want to do that, because it’s already been done, oh say, a hundred seventy three times. The idea of mentioning a good vehicle dynamics reference quickly spiraled off into a larger list of recommended reading. I’ve read all the following, and they belong in every race engineer’s library. They aren’t all in print, but hey, you’re supposed to be resourceful if you’re going to be a race engineer.

These two books offer some insight into life as a race engineer:
“Inside Racing: A Season with the PacWest CART Indycar Team”, by Paul Haney
“The Unfair Advantage”, by Mark Donohue and Paul Van Valkenburg

Books on race car technology:
Everything that Carroll Smith wrote. All of it. Really.
“Inside Racing Technology”, by Paul Haney and Jeff Braun
"Competition Car Suspension", by Allen Staniforth

“The Racing and High-Performance Tire”, by Paul Haney
“Racecar Engineering and Mechanics”, by Paul Van Valkenburgh
“Data Power”, by Buddy Fey. Yup, that’s me.
“Race Car Aerodynamics”, by Joseph Katz
“Competition Car Aerodynamics”, by Simon McBeath

Returning to sprung mass natural frequency, here are the essential vehicle dynamics references:
“Fundamentals of Vehicle Dynamics”, by Thomas Gillespie
“Race Car Vehicle Dynamics”, by Bill and Doug Milliken. The definitive masterwork.

Keep subscriptions to Racecar Engineering, Racetech, and Bernoulli magazines, and follow the regular contributions by these folks:
Mark Ortiz
Danny Nowlan
Simon McBeath
The data acquisition column by Pi Research

With apologies to Bill Mitchell and Warren Rowley, I own but haven’t read Warren’s impressive book, “An Introduction to Race Car Engineering”.

And have a look at Mike Fuller’s comprehensive web site, Mulsanne’s Corner. It’s in the links on this page.

Back to where we started, I hope you’re up on sprung mass natural frequency pretty soon, so my post on springs will make sense.


  1. I've read the Carroll Smith books...seriously good stuff - and something that I keep with me all the time.

    I'll definately have to check out some of the other books you mentioned.

  2. Buddy,
    Thanks for the nice plug for our book.
    -- Doug Milliken

  3. Buddy,

    Excellent blog. I got a copy of Data Power just before it went out of print when I was at high school. I was just wondering if you'd had a chance to read Jorg Segers' book "Analysis Techniques for Data Acquisition"?

    Ben Michell
    Dunlop Motorsport ALMS

  4. Thanks, Ben. I haven't read Segers' book yet, but probably should.

  5. The Formula SAE Forum has a very comprehensive thread entitled "Book list to reference for car design" in the "Open FSAE Discussion" section. See:

  6. Buddy - thanks for sharing your insights. Any chance that you might republish Data Power? It is selling for $250-$300 used (10x the new price!).

  7. Data Power "may" get republished eventually. No immediate plans are in the works, though.