Penske Racing Shocks is a company that was born out of necessity. Off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all shock absorber offerings were no longer up to the task for the demands of the high-stakes world of IndyCar racing in the late 1980s. As such, a small group of engineers was set-up within the Penske Racing organization to develop a better solution - a personalized solution that addressed their specific requirements and yielded a higher performing solution. When the cars are more controlled, drivers are more confident, lap times come down, and teams are positioned for success.
This effort was extremely successful, which led to the birth of our company. Those looking for the highest performing and most customizable products now had a place to go. Fast forward 30 years, and still nothing has changed about Penske Shocks’ commitment to creating personalized shocks and set-ups for our racers. We know that shocks are only as good as their setup and the support offered by the manufacturer. That discipline is ingrained in the very fabric of our company and our team members. It’s what we do day-in-day-out. It’s the only way we know how, and this approach has proven to achieve results at the highest levels. We refer to this custom process simply as our “S3” program:
Our S3 process helps our customers optimize their suspension system from the start. It lets our customers perform at their best from the start, empowers them to improve their understanding of their suspension and track performance every week, and provides confidence validated weekly with race wins and championships.
So, what does a personalized shock set-up experience look like? How does the process work?
Our process has been broken down into six specific steps that cover the lifecycle and journey of our customers, with factory support every step of the way:
Generally, once a customer contacts us, they have already researched other options and have questions about what we can do for them. Other times, word of mouth endorsements or seeing others succeed with our products is all the research needed. Commonly, the person who takes your call will be the same person that builds your shocks. This personal connection with a human being who will serve as your shock absorber consultant is vital to our process and makes sure your system is custom to you. We make it easy to connect via phone or email, depending on your preference.
Next, our technicians gather pertinent information (the type of car or bike, problems currently being experienced, whether a daily driver or track car, and timeframe for a delivered solution) and open your file. For custom applications, we ask our customers to send mounting details and pictures of the existing shock absorber installation to assess any packaging challenges and establish things like hydraulic line lengths and radial positioning of canisters. While most of what we do is for custom applications, we have OEM standards for some road cars and most motorcycles.
To ensure a truly custom solution, we also ask questions relating to the use of the product and whole vehicle handling. These questions include the type of adjustment required, the tires’ characteristics, the tracks to be run, spring rates used, and the general threshold for damping levels (how aggressive do you want to go - more comfort or all-out performance?).
Once the basic specs are established and information is gathered on the hardware, we move to the budget stage. We present multiple options and make recommendations independent of cost concerns, mainly around the customer’s level and what we feel will be best for them. We will never upsell someone for the sake of a higher-priced sale if we know the customer won’t use the full capabilities or won’t feel a difference in the more expensive option. We believe that any customer engagement is the start of a journey together and recommending the correct product at the beginning builds trust. We choose to lay the groundwork for growth and continued measured advances in performance and want to have a lifelong happy customer instead of a short-term quick sale.
Once the specific product is agreed on, we start the process of planning the build and delivery.
Next, our technicians convert the notes and customer details gathered thus far and capture them in a build sheet for that specific customer and application. Along the way, the customer is encouraged to touch base with our technician and ask any additional questions that may come up. Likewise, our technicians will reach out to the customer to confirm any final details that they may need. The shock is then custom-made and built by hand in our Reading, PA facility by the same shock technician you have worked with every step of the way.
Every shock that we send out the door is dyno-tested for quality assurance, and we provide a dyno graph for the shock as it leaves our building and at some other settings for reference. A dyno graph is the final sign-off step that ensures the shock is functioning correctly and safely, while also giving the customer a baseline to come back to once they’ve started making adjustments. We keep these dyno files on file for life, so we always have a record.
Once the shock is shipped and delivered, we encourage our customers to reach out to the technician who built it to confirm all is good and answer any questions when mounting it and before they hit the track or street for the first time. Better yet, we gladly accept any photos of the shock installed to put in our customer file.
Once the customer hits the track, we ask them to give us feedback on the handling and sensitivities of the car or bike to adjustments. We encourage them to share their run notes with us so we can provide some suggestions for the next event.
The bottom line is, we want the customer to be completely happy. If we have missed the mark on the setup or if there is an installation problem, we will make it right at our expense, no questions asked.
Once the customer is successfully using our product and the sale is complete, the support doesn’t stop there. We know that people will continue to explore ways to get the most out of their application and make improvements. When you purchase a Penske shock, we make a commitment to your continued learning and advancement. As such, webinars, live Q&A sessions, website downloads, and other tools are available to our customers. Additionally, the personal connections made during the shock build with our talented technicians continue on. We want all customers to know that we are here to be a resource for future questions and advice.
We have always believed in the value of a personalized setup and shock experience for our customers. This belief is what formed our company and continues to be our standard operating procedure as well as a massive advantage for our customers.
Connect with one of our experienced Penske Racing Shocks shock specialist - and begin the performance optimization process BEFORE buying anything.