rFactor Tire Wear Tutorial
Page 4 - Bring it all together. Make a strategy
The point of it all - race strategy. Now that we know how to get the best out of the soft/hard tires, we have to apply that knowledge to the race. That is often very simple. Let's say our testing shows that hard tires will last the full distance, but soft tires will not. Then we simply check the time for a pitstop - let's say a pitstop costs 40 seconds (in-lap, stop fuel/tires, out-lap), the race length is 40 laps and your testing shows that hard tires are 1.5s/lap slower. So with soft tires you lose 40s by stopping, but you gain 1.5s/lap for the 40 laps = 60s. So a one-stop race with softs will be 20 seconds quicker, and that's will be the way to go.
Sometimes though you will find that either hard-tires are very close to softs in laptime (like Monza as a good example) or that a pitstop takes a long time (Rattlesnake last year was an example). At those times it's crucial to know whether hard tires will last the race. For example Rattlesnake point, the pitstop was very slow, AND there were very few laps (just 24, due to long track). So hard tires were 1s/lap slower, but with only 24 laps the "cost" of that was only 24 seconds. So you lose 24s in time, but with a long pitlane it took 50 seconds to make a stop - so running hard tires lost 24 seconds, gained 50 seconds, so overall was quicker by 26 seconds, or more than one second per lap over soft tire runners. No brainer.
There's a lot more to strategy, such as trying to get grid position, worry over being stuck in traffic, going long or short with first stine etc etc. Everyone knows the strategy side though, so I won't talk too much on that. However I hope that this info helps understand the tires themselves, how to get information on them, check tire wear etc. In case any remaining questions please just ask on the forum, and we can update this article as necessary.
In closing I will just add a couple of final items to keep in mind;
• When testing remember that running with FULL fuel wears the tires more quickly than when the car is empty. that is important if you are thinking of non-stopping, since if you test with your full race fuel the tire wear will be worse than what you will actually get over the whole race distance. The best is to test with half of your race fuel, as that will give an average between heavy and light fuel.
• Remember you can split strategies. Sometimes you will find that hard rear tires are needed to run non-stop, but that soft front tires will also last the full race distance. In that case there is no point to give up the extra grip of soft tires - so run soft tires on the front and hard tires on the rear.
• At 7x tirewear, spins and lockups have a MAJOR impact. This is another reason we use 7x tire wear, as it to some extents simulates the real life damage that those errors cause to tires. Say you are running a tight non-stop strategy, and your hard tires would have 15% wear left at the end. Just one high speed spin can chew 1 or 2% wear off your tires, especially if you lock up your brakes while spinning. Do that a couple of times and it might be enough to push your tires into "danger" territory at the end of the race. Same with locking up brakes - it will sharply increase the wear for that tire.
• Remember the formation lap! The race is of course one lap longer, since we need to drive the formation lap (in TWF1 at least). Your tires wear on that lap, and ESPECIALLY if you burnout a lot, as that heavily wears the tires.