Tech We Would Like to See on the C8 Corvette: DSSV Dampers


Tech We Would Like to See on the C8 Corvette: DSSV Dampers

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Last week we introduced a new feature where we will be exploring desirable shades from GM’s paint palette along with some hues from other manufacturers simply titled, Colors that we would like to see on the C8. We will be rotating those posts with these companion pieces where we are going to explore some neat automotive technology that could improve certain aspects of the already incredible mid-engine Corvette.

We are going to kick-off our maiden voyage of “Tech we would like to see on the C8” with a trip North of the border to Ontario where we will find the headquarters of an engineering company called Multimatic. Let’s see what they’ve got, eh?

Multimatic supplies a variety of parts to different car companies that you just might use every day. They make Ford’s tailgate “Man-Step” and the control arms used on GM trucks amongst many other things. They also handle the entire assembly process for the Ford GT supercar, which is where our interest comes into play. If you have ever seen the GT enter “Race-Mode,” then you have seen the most dramatic example of DSSV Shocks in action.

DSSV stands for Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve and Multimatic developed the damping technology in the early 2000’s for use in racing applications. They have been used to win multiple Formula 1 World Championships, on Ferrari’s GTLM cars, and on Indy Cars. How do they differ from a traditional setup?

Boiled down to its simplest form, a damper or shock absorber is just a tube of oil with a plunger/piston that moves up and down in it to lighten the blow of bumps in the road. DSSVs replace the conventional piston with a pair of spool valves. Spool valve technology is used to turn the flow of hydraulic fluid off and on by blocking/unblocking the path taken by the fluids. They open and close at variable rates depending on the speed of damping. They can also be adjusted for soft/firmness contingent on the force being applied to the spool valves. This all matters and is beneficial because it delivers high levels of “predictability, accuracy, and repeatability” in regulating the oil flow within the shock absorber, allowing a car’s track handling to feel incredibly precise.

DSSV Dampers from Multimatic

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General Motors was the first company to put these dampers to use on a mass-produced road car when they debuted the tech on the 2014 Camaro Z/28. DSSVs helped the Z/28 win its reputation as a serious track weapon capable of out-lapping just about any car under $100,000 at the time (including the Stingray Z51), even though it was often way down on power. Six years later and there are still very few vehicles using this technology. Mercedes jumped on the bandwagon with the AMG-GT but GM still has the claim as the only mainstream user of DSSV shocks. They can be found underpinning the hard-core 1LE track pack version of the Camaro ZL1 (where they save 60 lbs. over the standard mag-ride setup) and surprisingly, on the Colorado ZR2.

The dampers, tires, and increased aerodynamics are the main differences between the regular Camaro ZL1 and the 1LE and lead to differences in lap time between the two versions of 13.56 seconds at the Nurburgring and 5.1 seconds at Virginia International Raceway. These are serious improvements; just think what a similarly equipped 2019 ZR1 could have done! On the rare occasion that GM decides to debut go-fast goodies on a vehicle other than the Corvette, it doesn’t sit very well with us but we believe the main reason we haven’t seen DSSV dampers on a ‘Vette yet is the negative effect that they have on ride quality. Majority of Corvette customers expect a “best of all worlds” experience and a jarring ride will definitely spoil trips to the country club. Our solution is to include DSSVs as a part of some sort of Z07-style package that is meant for setting lap-times anyway. A future Z06/ Z07 with Carbon-Ceramic brakes, upgraded aero, and this suspension set-up would absolutely destroy all-comers on a road course, which is also what we have come to expect from the Corvette!

General Motors already deploys spool valve dampers on two of their products so it leaves us wondering when, not if, we will see them on a Corvette and when they do, the world’s supercars better watch out!

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