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Lawrence Link Suspension System - Article from Racecar Engineering Magazine.......... return to begining

“During this time the company was still involved with Morgans and entered Chris’ car for Le Mans in 1962 and again in 1963 when it won the 2.0-litre class.

Deep Sanderson coupe was entered into 1000cc class at Le Mans in 1964 but excluded on a technicality whilst leading the pack. Here it is competing again at Classic Le Mans in 2004
With this experience it seemed obvious to run the 301 at the French classic, so the following year the company entered two cars. After 15 hours one of the Deep Sandersons was leading the 1000cc class before being excluded “on a technicality”, as Chris says cynically. “I suspect Carlo Abarth was up in the office jumping up and down with rage because there were six Abarths behind me.”
Tragically, on the way back from the Sarthe that year, the driver of the car Chris was sleeping in the back of, dozed off at the wheel. The crash put Lawrence in hospital and it took nine months to recover from his injuries. During that time the business ran into severe financial problems but he did manage to sell the patent on Lawrence Link suspension to Rover cars. That pretty much put an end to his involvement in the concept. When he decided to develop the 301 into a 302 with a north-south engine installation for the 1968 Le Mans, he approached Rover for permission to use the suspension concept. However the car manufacturer was unaccommodating. “They were singularly unhelpful I thought. I wasn’t going to build 60,000 a year, I thought a couple of Lawrence Tune racing cars or Deep Sandersons wouldn’t do anybody any harm. But they saw it differently so we built one that was completely orthodox.

Lawrence’s career in cars went off in numerous directions after this episode. He spent seven years helping develop the still-born Monica sportscar and saw most of the 1980s out preparing historic racing cars in the States.
On his return to the UK in the early 1990s, he was approached by Jem Marsh of Marcos to develop the Lm600.“My instructions were to win the British GT Championship at all costs and go to Le Mans. One car staggered up the road at 4 o’clock unclassified but we walked the British Championship first and second with no problem.”
This led to a return to working with Morgans and a pivotal role in the design of the Aero 8 road and racing cars.
In semi-retirement he had the opportunity revisit his Lawrence Link suspension when he bought a Deep Sanderson 301 and prepared it to compete in the Le Mans classic historic racing event. Coincidently, one of his Formula Juniors with the concept also broke cover the same year at the Goodwood Revival meeting following a long restoration. Owned for many years by Formula Junior authority Duncan Rabagliati, this is the car featured in this article and shows clearly how the design was applied in practice.

“I wanted to make the inside wheel do as much work as you possibly can all the time”

On reflection how does the designer feel about his innovation that never quite made it? “Its strengths are the pure wheel behaviour it produces and the stability of its geometry. The drawbacks are high unit loading. The wishbones and their ball joints are fairly highly loaded because, being trailing link, they are having loads applied in lateral bending, which is a bit more difficult to make stable compared to a normal wishbone. But that geometry is as pure as you can get. Nobody’s got anywhere near it. I wanted to make the inside wheel do as much as you possibly can all the time. It’s got four wheels, let’s use them.”

Morgan Aero 8 - formerly the property of Christopher Lawrence. Originally it was the tenth pre-production car and it was completed for the press release day in 2000 at Birtsnorton Court

[Photograph: © C. Lawrence]

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