Ignoring the Fancy Stuff
In the Basic Driving Techniques
chapter there are a few articles whom touch on this issue on occassion, but it is important enough when 'covering the basics' to underline this issue.
Because there are so many different ways to deal with a simulation/mod/car, novice drivers or a driver lacking in-depth knowledge, will often go for the same pitfalls in an attempt to become faster/more stable.
Allot of time is spend experimenting in the garage, changing all kinds of stuff like springs, dampers, ride height, brake settings etc etc. whilst they are not realy sure what it actualy does or fully understand what the effects will be.
This usualy happens allot when track-time is not giving the desired results (fast enough) and the quest for 'hidden setup tricks' or anything that will magicly make them faster begins.
More often then not this will lead to (more) frustration because there are no hidden setup-tricks unless you are an experienced driver or have a good knowledge on setting up a car allready.
When not fully aware of what changes actualy do, you could well be going backwards and obstructing your own progress!
Aliens with experience are sometimes known (as well) for becomming fast with a simple default setup, using a remotely appropriate setup or just quickly change a few settings and have a go at it.
As you can read in the Track Knowledge
article this is where they good stuff is, for both novice and experienced drivers. Mentioned Aliens will most likely only start to realy have a go with the setup once they fully understand the track and know what they need to do to improve apexes, braking points, etc.
To further underline this point: in the many years in Legends many experienced drivers have coached drivers whome where just starting or struggling otherwise. In allot of the cases where drivers would ask for hints and tips about dampers, springs, anti-roll bar issues they would not even use propor racing lines on-track, sometimes totaly disregard braking points, overdriving the car and generaly missing the core basics of racing all together.
It is almost impossible to improve in the garage when these basic issues are not ironed out first. In fact, they will only frustrate a driver more.
So, when suffering from the above symptoms (and this is also often the case with experienced drivers), go back to basics. Make it simple again, ignore all the fancy stuff and just go out and go around and around endlessly. Track time is in most cases the best way to become fast.
This will not only make you faster by default (knowing the track and every little challenge it will give) , it will also give you much more information about how to setup a car. The more laps you do the better your understanding will be about what you actualy need. Once you know the track and start to attack turns you will often take notes for yourself on how to improve.
use old setups
We do need some basic setup changes of course, no sense in using a low downforce setup on a high downforce track etc. So a few basic settings should get into your system in order to do quick and intuative changes to get you back on track as soon as possible.
A few basic settings for a quick setup:
- steering angle
This is basicly what you should look into when doing your first practise laps. Once it is satisfactory then just start doing your laps untill you know the track well enough.
When going faster you will most likely need to change the gearing abit , or adjust the wings because you could do some turns more efficiently. And graduately make more progress.
And still ignoring the fancy stuff!!
It's probably wise to give your setups a name and save them regurarly. Something that will help you on other tracks, so when you enter a new track you can browse through your old setups easily and just pick something that is either simulair to the current track (same-ish downforce , technical or flat track, twisty or smooth,etc) or something you are most comfourtable with.
Ask for setups
Beeing able to just load something and go on-track right away is ideal. You could even test 2 or 3 different setups for a few laps here and there to determin which way to go.
Best way to start! just ask the fast/experienced drivers for a setup or what they are using. Simple information on what kind of wings people use is often extremely helpfull. You could even browse through your old setups and just pick something that uses the same wing setting. chances are you will be on the right path allready by doing that.
Compare yourself to others
Even if an Alien-setup is unusable (to edgy, different driving style etc.) there still might be some good (basic) information in that setup for you to test out.
As mentioned, tweaking the setup when you have not covered basic ideal lines etc. is counter productive. Make sure you got the basics covered first by a] doing laps and b] check what others are doing.
Take your time
In most sims you will be able to watch others whilst in the garage. just follow them and see what they are doing. This can be very informative. Even if its just 'that one turn' you are having so much issues with. Taking one turn wrong or right could sometimes give or take a complete second in a laptime.
Some sims allow for replays to be merged. If so, merging your fastest lap with someone elses can realy bring out some underlying issues. *
At the time of writing we organise Club events for every Sim we use * *. Club events are essential if you want to compare yourself to others and to determin whether or not you made the correct setup choices. Just racing others prior to the main event can and will iron out issues or tell you you need subtle or radical changes. Maybe more importantly, you can compare your lines and zone's with others and that is probably the fastest way to see if you need to adjust your behaviour on-track.
Related: Club events will give you allot of information about your direct competition. Are you close enough to the driver(s) you usualy compare yourself with? or are you within the acceptable times of the fast guys? All this gives you a good idea whether or not you are on the right path without having to do too much extensive setup-tweaking on forehand.
In Legends racing we have one week of practise time before an event starts. Setups from drivers will be generaly more advanced and final later on in the week. Take the time you have to simply get to know the track and then beg for setups later on. The benefits can be quite large as you allready know the track by then, so any 'different approach' coming from someone else's setup will most likely give you great pointers or otherwise just finetune the path you allready took.
* Merging replays in rFactor is done with RfMerge
* * Club events are public practice sessions which include several races. In iRacing, when League events are matching the iRacing events, a driver can gain experience by joining the iRacing events themselfes.