We already know that it’s possible to curb your fuel consumption just by having your tires properly inflated, or better yet, installing a set of low rolling-resistance tires, however, soon there may be an additional avenue to look at when picking the most fuel efficient rubber for your ride.
The answer is the camber of your tires, more specifically, the negative camber. This is when the tops of your car’s tires are angled inwards towards the chassis.
Racing cars typically feature negative cambered tires as they improve grip when cornering due to the tire being at a more optimal angle to the road, transmitting the forces through the vertical plane of the tire, rather than through a shear force across it. Another benefit is the increase contact area with the road, also when cornering.
Of course, there are negative effects too--namely increased tire wear and impaired ride quality--which is why production cars almost always have zero camber. However, a car enthusiast by the name of John Scott has devised a special tire dubbed the CamberTire that is claimed to negate the increase wear and ride penalties normally associated with cambered tires.
Scott first got the idea after seeing a heavily laden Lexus vehicle with its rear tires steeply cambered. In 1999 he filed a patent for a “tire with a constantly decreasing diameter” and the CamberTire was born. Prototypes of Scott’s CamberTire on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR test vehicle have shown to have shorter stopping distances, higher cornering speeds, improved ride and even improved fuel economy.
The key to his design is an asymmetrical tire mold that yields an outer sidewall slightly taller than the inner sidewall. The wheel alignment must be adjusted to provide at least three degrees of negative camber.
Scott is now working closely with a number of firms, including motorsports tire distributor M&H Racemaster, to further develop the CamberTire.