Car setups for beginners

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by matf1, May 10, 2015.

  1. matf1

    matf1 Registered

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    I provide this post to inform but also to promote discussion, so ask away!

    There are 3 main reasons to set up a car:
    1. Speed
    2. Comfort
    3. Wear

    So given this, in order to begin to understand car set ups we must be able to:
    1. Drive fast
    2. Know what we like
    3. Understand what problems are caused by driving style and what are caused by setup.

    A very clear example of this is a long fast corner. Say the left front hits 120 degrees celsius, is
    this because the balance is bad, or is it because I used the wrong line, went in to fast etc.

    We have to crawl before we can walk and to do that you need to:
    1. Know how to drive fast
    2. Understand our strengths and weakness
    3. Start to understand how individual components affect the car and more importantly, how they interact with each other.

    I'll normally drive for half an hour or so with the default setup on a new combo, adjusting my driving to the setup.
    Once I have a good feel for what is going on, I'll go ahead and make minor changes to affect balance.

    In the past, I was not really sure what I was doing, so each circuit, each car was the same thing:
    Drop the dampers all round to 3/4, remove roll bars, brakes to the rear etc.
    What I eventually found by doing this, was I was driving 'against the grain'
    Yep, I was quick, but I was being out-braked and towards the end of the race, the car balance goes out and it becomes more and more difficult to push.
    So, I traded wear for comfort essentially. More comfort but equally more wear.
    I also noticed that I was apex hugging, not using the full width of the road. This could be attributed to a bad setup. The front end was good,the rear
    was good, but they did not play well together. This reduced my ability to drive correctly which in turn reduced my confidence to attack.


    It's a big mountain to climb, so where can you start?
    At the beginning of course :)
    1. Find a suitable car and circuit, one you are comfortable with but also one that allows you to have freedom with the setup.
    2. Adjust wings and gears, these two things alone are easy to understand, modify and feel the end result of.
    3. Ask questions if there is something confusing you.
    4. Once you understand, move to another component.

    Test each component individually so as to get the feeling of what it is doing.
    In the early days, I'd do 5 laps, change 1 thing from 0 to 100 then another 5 laps to feel it.

    So the components themselves, what do they do?
    Skipping the basics which I'm sure everyone understands already?

    Increasing Rollbars stiffen the car, reducing body roll and allowing the car to slide more.
    - Adjust the front to induce understeer or the rear for oversteer.
    Increasing Springs can give additional support to each corner of the car.
    - Adjust front springs to reduce wallow in the steering, adjust rear springs to assist with getting the power down.
    Dampers can be difficult to understand, simply because they are so influential for a variety of reasons.
    - Dampers can be used to promote corner entry and exit characteristics. Typically this is not as extreme as under or oversteer
    - Dampers are also directly responsible for how the corner reacts on and off load (accel and braking) and the feeling over curbs and bumps.
    - The simplest way to understand these is the spring moves up and down, the dampers control how fast and how far it is allowed to move and how it returns to it's resting position.
    Camber is used to provided a balance between wear and grip, you'll want to adjust for even wearing across the tire. This is critical for maintaining balance of the car through the race.
    - Aim for a spread in temperatures like 80 - 85 - 90 after a reasonable stint.
    Caster is quite easy to explain. It's just like the front wheels on a supermarket trolley, the more caster, the more the front wheels will want to push straight.
    - You might want this for stability, but be aware that this has a direct influence on the Force Feedback you experience.
    Differential settings, another of the difficult to understand concepts.
    -Power is how progressively the diff allows the power to be sent to the wheels, coast is how the diff tightens up off power. Pump is the transition between the two.
    -So if I wanted to jump on the throttle coming out of turns, I'd decrease power. If more turn-in on corner entry is required, then it's time to reduce the coast.
    -If I get oversteer coming off throttle, I might increase the coast or increase the pump.

    This however is where it becomes more challenging.
    Do I promote oversteer with springs, dampers, roll bars, wings? Each component while having a tangible effect individually, exists because they provide attributes the other cannot and are designed to work in conjunction with each other.
    This is why it is so difficult and why it is hard to make a simple catch all guide for the inexperienced to follow.

    There really aren't any shortcuts.
     
  2. bwana

    bwana Registered

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    Good post Mat , Tire pressure Ive found (by going the wrong way by reducing pressure for a long time) is also something you might want to include
     
  3. Dalek

    Dalek Registered

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    Nice post.
    Laptime consistancy (imo tire temps and brake temp managment) and stability are a good aim too.
     
  4. speed1

    speed1 Banned

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    Hi matf1 i hope we are cool. ;)

    I like to add to your nice toughts, that in a virtual environnent we usually start above the car and setup limit when learning the combo while overdriving it.

    This ofc don't goes for everybody but the reason is clear for everybody i think and we don't need to dive in to much, but just as example, no fear, lack of feeling and costs.

    To come to the point, me usually drive the combo in standard as long as there seems nothing to gain for me anymore. Meanwhile i would have understand what the car and me is doing and where i have to optimize something, but at that point me is usually very fast already, and the optimizing catapults me in the top list of driver performance than, unless i didn't messed up the setup. :) But that i would notice than.

    Sometimes i also do some random changes on the setup before i use the car when something seems unlogical for me.

    The problem is we don't Know about the kinematic of the sim software, as example position of axle parts and how they would twist or move under diff circumtances or setup changes, such as toe as example.

    It always is a diff between drive axle and non and also if FWD, RWD, or 4 Wheel drive, and than the position of axle parts, such as the given example with the toe, it also would have a diff influence when the tie rods are mounted behind or in front of the wheels, and than if it is a drive axle or not, and this goes for the whole kinematic.

    Still my advise would be to reach the total limit of the given combo in standard first. ;)
     
  5. Emery

    Emery Registered

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  6. matf1

    matf1 Registered

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    Thanks for your tips fellahs. @Bwana, I know what you mean. We were kind of led into it by chasing temps across the surface.

    Of course we are :)

    I'm much the same, however I was prompted to make this thread by a question from someone with no experience in this area.
    So if we consider a newer driver on his limit, he may be 10 seconds or more behind. At this stage, there can be no benefit in any setup change, they simply need to get up to speed.

    We have all been on servers where someone jumps in and asks for a set immediately. While I would never mind sharing my resources, it's a bit awkward to explain that you really are just using the default set.

    So I guess there is quite a bit of misunderstanding about setups and what is actually required. Like when it is called a black art, it's not because people don't understand what the parts do, it's understanding how they work together, it's understanding when and what to stiffen or loosen.

    For beginners, there must be certain parts of the setup that confuse people, so please, if that's you, ask away!
     
  7. matf1

    matf1 Registered

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  8. speed1

    speed1 Banned

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    Fine, and i agree that a beginner not familar with the tec is lost when it comes to the point that the car may needs some optimizing for the given track or driving style.

    Would be nice to have advices and explanations integrated in the sim., as it would be nice to have a animation of the changes we made, as for example to show the susspension and the result in degrees visually, such as toe, camber, caster, steering lock etc., but ok till than the beginners are welcome to ask. ;)
     
  9. bwana

    bwana Registered

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    yep , cost me plenty of podiums thinking I was driving wrong. Couldn't for the life of me think why I was the one who had to pit each race when others would have as high as 75% of tire life left.
     

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