Applied Vehicle Dynamics
I.D. # C0414 Duration 3 Days

Take notes! Take the wheel! There is no better place to gain an appreciation for vehicle dynamics than from the driver¿s seat. Spend three, intense days with a world- renowned vehicle dynamics engineer and SAE Master Instructor, his team of experienced industry engineers, and the BMW-trained professional driving instructors. They will guide you as you work your way through 12 classroom modules learning how and why vehicles go, stop and turn. Each classroom module is immediately followed by an engaging driving exercise on BMW¿s private test track. Topics include threshold braking, braking stability, transient response, understeer and oversteer, anti-lock braking systems, electronic stability control, and much more. Simply stated, there is no other seminar in the world quite like this!

While a variety of new engineering methods are becoming available to assist in creating optimal vehicle designs, subjective evaluation of vehicle dynamics is still required to deliver desired braking, handling, and acceleration attributes. In order to better prepare today¿s engineer for this task, this course offers modules devoted to twelve key fundamental principles associated with longitudinal and lateral vehicle dynamics. Each focused classroom session is paired with an on-track exercise to immediately reinforce these concepts with a dedicated behind-the-wheel driving session, effectively illustrating these principles in the real world.

This course, in partnership with the BMW Performance Driving Centers, is the leader in the industry; training automotive engineers as well as the training the trainers at leading engineering firms worldwide. 

This course has been approved by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) for 24 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Upon completion of this seminar, accredited re-constructionists should mail a copy of their course certificate and the $5 student CEU fee to ACTAR, PO Box 1493, North Platte, NE 69103.

Learning Objectives
By attending this seminar, you will be able to:
  • Explain tire-road friction limits and compose the friction circle for a given vehicle system
  • Compute fundamental braking response attributes
  • Illustrate the physics of turning and calculate lateral weight transfer
  • Estimate brake system balance and brake proportioning
  • Measure and graph a vehicle's understeer gradient
  • Analyze basic anti-lock brake system (ABS) operation
  • Discuss the effectiveness and limitations of electronic stability control (ESC) systems
  • Calculate the most efficient path for a vehicle to negotiate a given test maneuver
  • Comprehend the effects that test protocol can have on vehicle dynamics
  • Predict what response characteristics can be influenced by vehicle state
  • Define those vehicle dynamic attributes which can be impacted through vehicle selection

Who Should Attend
This course has been developed for engineers and technical personnel involved in all fields related to the design or development of vehicle dynamics, vehicle braking systems, powertrain systems, chassis systems, or suspension systems. In addition, this course can be valuable to those with component design responsibilities in brake, chassis, suspension, or tire disciplines who desire a fundamental background in vehicle dynamics with a practical driving linkage.

While not required, potential attendees should have an undergraduate engineering degree or a strong technical background. As a minimum, a basic knowledge of college algebra, college physics, and a familiarity with vehicle brake and suspension systems

Seminar Content
  • Longitudinal Slip and Weight Transfer
    • Defining vehicle dynamics and longitudinal slip
    • Longitudinal mu-slip relationship
    • Principles of longitudinal weight transfer
    • Friction circle concept
    • Driving exercise - orientation
  • Fundamentals of Straight-Line Braking
    • What do braking systems do?
    • How does each of the components contribute?
    • What are the underlying fundamental relationships?
    • Driving exercise - limit braking
  • Slip Angle and Transient Response
    • Slip angle and cornering stiffness
    • High-speed steering and transient response
    • Lateral weight transfer
    • Driving exercise - lane change
  • Braking Stability
    • Rear brake proportioning fundamentals
    • Braking stability
    • Rear brake proportioning in practice
    • Driving exercise - brake in a turn
  • Steady-State Cornering
    • The understeer gradient
    • Components of the USG
    • Driving exercise - Graphing the USG
  • Combining Lateral and Longitudinal Slip
    • Braking in a turn, turning while braking
    • Drive-off in a turn, turning during drive-off
    • Driving exercise - Avoidance maneuver
  • Anti-Lock Brake Systems
    • Stability, steerability, and stopping distance
    • Objectives and strategies of ABS
    • ABS performance
    • Driving exercise - Avoidance maneuver
  • Electronic Stability Control
    • Objectives and limitations of ESC
    • ESC detection and countermeasures
    • ESC performance
    • Driving exercise - Wet skidpad
  • Test Procedure Selection
    • Defining terms and concepts
    • Test circuit overview
    • Driving exercise - Baseline path
  • Test Procedure Sensitivity
    • Defining the apex
    • Driving the friction circle
    • Driving exercise - Path variation
  • Test Vehicle Sensitivity
    • Brief USG review
    • Impact of tire pressure adjustments
    • Driving exercise - Low pressure evaluation
  • Comparison Vehicle Evaluation
    • Comparison vehicle overview
    • Driving exercise - Lapping in comparison vehicle
  • Learning Assessment

Instructor(s): James Walker Jr.

James WalkerJames Walker, Jr. is currently a Principal Engineer specializing in motor vehicle crash reconstruction and chassis, brake, and electronic brake control systems at Carr Engineering, Inc. His prior professional experience includes vehicle dynamics and brake control system development, design, release, and application engineering at Kelsey-Hayes, Saturn Corporation, General Motors, Bosch, Ford Motor Company, and Delphi. Mr. Walker created scR motorsports consulting in 1997, and subsequently competed in seven years of SCCA Club Racing in the Showroom Stock and Improved Touring categories. Through scR motorsports, he has been actively serving as an industry advisor to Kettering University in the fields of brake system design and brake control systems. Since 2001, he has served as a brake control system consultant for StopTech, a manufacturer of high-performance racing brake systems.

In addition to providing freelance material to multiple automotive publications focusing on chassis and brake technology, Mr. Walker is the author of High-Performance Brake Systems: Design, Selection, and Installation. In 2005, he was presented with the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award for distinction in professional development and education, and in 2010 was designated as an SAE Master Instructor. He obtained his B.S.M.E. in 1994 from GMI Engineering & Management Institute

Driving Instructors

Ed Bender
Ed Bedner is a senior principal engineer in the field of vehicle dynamics control systems. His professional experiences are in the design and application of active safety systems, including brake controls, steering controls, driver assistance and autonomous systems at General Motors, Delphi, Autoliv, and Qualcomm. Ed has been responsible for the development of algorithms related to the estimation and control of vehicle motion, such as electronic stability control, rollover prevention, adaptive cruise control, and lane-tracking functions. He holds 14 patents and is the author of 3 technical publications. Ed has extensive experience in vehicle handling test methods and measurements, and he is a certified driver at multiple proving grounds and winter test sites. Ed has been a co-instructor for SAE¿s Applied Vehicle Dynamics seminar since 2006.

Patrick Caherty is a Technical Specialist with 25 years of experience in all aspects of on-road vehicle braking systems.  His professional experiences include application and vehicle-level performance development and verification of electronic brake controls, foundation brakes, and friction materials for a number of global suppliers and vehicle manufacturers. Mr. Caherty earned his BSME and competed in Formula SAE at the University of Maryland, College Park.   He has been a co-instructor for the SAE Applied Vehicle Dynamics and Applied Brake Controls seminars since 2006.

Deric FrischDeric Frisch has worked in the automotive industry for 30 years and holds degrees in Automotive Engineering and Engineering Technology from MCC and Lawrence Technological University. In 1996- 1997 he led the Monroe Community College Formula SAE design team with a focus on frame and suspension design. He has been involved with various vehicle development projects while working at Roush Technologies and Faurecia. Deric has been involved with motorsports since 1991 and has competed in various events around the U.S. with the SCCA and World Karting Association. Since 1993 he has been a performance driving instructor with the SCCA and several automotive manufacturers. He has also been a voluntary instructor for A World in Motion (SAE Foundation program) within the Detroit city school system which focuses on STEM principals related to vehicle design. In 2017 he was appointed as an Ambassador for the BMW Car Club of America Foundation with a concentration on further developing the Street Survival teen driving program. He has been a co-instructor for the SAE Applied Vehicle Dynamics seminars since 2018.

Erik Maassen is the Test Lab Supervisor for Automatic Transmissions at ZF North America, Inc. in Northville, Michigan. Prior to this assignment, Mr. Maassen was a Vehicle Dynamics Engineer working at FIAT Chrysler Automotive LLC supporting new and carry- over vehicle programs for all vehicle dynamics attributes for 5-1/2 years. His work relied on subjective and objective assessment of vehicle response to road and driver inputs to evaluate proposed components and alignments in a variety of conditions. Objective assessments required Mr. Maassen to select and apply appropriate instrumentation in order to collect and evaluate data.

Mr. Maassen is also an instructor for the BMW Car Club of America since 2001 providing guidance to High Performance Driver Education students at racetracks around the Midwest. He uses his high performance driving experience to teach students the most efficient and safe path around a racetrack helping them to use the maximum capability of their car and to improve their own skills at the limit of adhesion. In addition, Mr. Maassen invests his driving and engineering experience coaching young drivers through the StreetSurvivial teen car control driving course. With 25 years of Automotive Engineering experience, Mr. Maassen has been enthusiastically supporting the SAE Applied Vehicle Dynamics course since 2006.  His prior professional experience includes application engineering of wheel bearings for SKF and Iljin, as well as product design and test lab management for GT Technologies. He earned a B.M.E in 1989 from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


"This seminar allows a better evaluation, from a practical stand point, of complete vehicles or sub-assemblies with respect to vehicle dynamics and handling."

Mircea Gradu

Chief Engineer - Automotive

The Timken Company

"Excellent forum to explore basic vehicle dynamics concepts and apply those concepts immediately in a vehicle. The class is well segmented between classroom and vehicle learning with good flow of course material."

Michael Missig

Senior Engineer - Vehicle Research

Honda R&D Americas, Inc.


"You will never have a full understanding of vehicle dynamics without this course as a base. While the screeching tires and smoke add to the effect, the experience "sticks" in your head."

Shad Tisdale

Research Engineer - Tire Mechanics

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company

"The class is a very good mix of classroom time and in-vehicle time and is the most fun class I've taken at SAE. It is ear-grinning fun while learning."

George Soodoo

Chief, Vehicle Dynamics Division


"Excellent to (finally) get to combine theory with practice in the same seminar."

Magnus Lahti

Systems Engineer

Mercedes-Benz R&D North America

"My overall understanding of vehicle dynamics has dramatically improved. I can now more confidently relate what I feel as a driver to what the vehicle is actually doing. Exactly what I came here for.

Robin Warner

Systems Calibration Engineer

TRW Automotive

"Learn something - do it. Learn some more - do it. Can't ask for a better instructor."

Michael Scholz

Senior Analysis Specialist

BMW Manufacturing Corp. LLC


Fees: $2499 SAE Members: $2499


CEU 2.4