Tyres are the most important thing in a race car. The rubber stuff, after all, is the only part of your car that touches the road, and your every setup change is designed to make the tyres work the way you want them.
It all begins with selecting the correct compound for the correct conditions. In Project CARS 2, you will find a compound for dry conditions, wet conditions, off-road/rallycross tracks, and ice/heavy snow driving. For the purposes of this exercise, we will look at setting up a GT3 car given the class’ popularity.
Selecting Soft Slicks is best practice when track temps are under 30°C, and here you want to keep a keen eye on your tyre temperatures. You want to see your soft slick tyre temps hover around between 70-95°C mark. The soft slick tyre should last one fuel stint in a GT3 car (anywhere between one hour to one hour fifteen minutes depending on the length of the track). This, of course, also depends on how you treat the tyres; scrubbing (understeering) or kicking out the rear end in corners is certainly going to lessen the endurance of the tyre. You’ll know this is happening if your tyre temps go over the 100°C mark consistently.
Hard Slicks are best used when track temps are above 25°C. You want to keep your hard slick tyre temps between 70-105°C. The hard compound tyre should afford you two fuel stints in a GT3 car (between two hours and two hours thirty minutes), but again, this is dependent on how you drive the car and the temperatures of the track, as the higher track temperatures will also degrade the tyres faster.
The next component you want to deal with is the all-important tyre pressure. Here, there are a few general elements you want to aim for.
―Aim for 1.80bar (26PSI) hot pressure. Hot pressure comes in around the fifth or sixth lap into a stint.
―Adjusting from default isn’t really needed for short races of less than 10 laps. However longer races, where conditions are known, may require some setup work. Test tyre pressures throughout setup creation to ensure you hit the target of 1.80bar (26PSI) for all 4 tyres.
―The amount the pressures will change from cold to hot depends on the track layout, weather conditions, and your driving style. Generally, it will be between the region of 0.3 – 0.5 bar.
―For tighter and ‘twistier’ circuits with short straights (Laguna Seca, and Zolder, for example), it could be worth aiming for hot pressures around the region of 1.75bar hot pressure. This lower pressure will afford you better cornering performance, but will also increases tyre heat and rolling resistance leading to slightly lower top-end speed.
―For tracks with long straights and fewer corners (Le-Mans, and Monza for instance), it could be worth aiming for hot pressures around the region of 1.85bar. This gives less rolling resistance which in turn allows for slightly higher top speeds while also reducing cornering grip.
With your tyres now sorted, it’s time to take a look at the brakes.
The Brake Pressure you’re going to be using really comes down to yourpersonal preference. For Yorkie, this works best between the region of 88-93% depending on brake locking. If you lock your brakes easily, decrease this balance slightly.
Having it higher will, however, give you better braking performance and ‘stop’ in shorter distances―but if your style ends up with your rubber consistently locking, you’re better off sacrificing a bit of performance for the sake of consistency.
Your Brake Balance, similarly, is again all about your personal preference. Moving it forwards (higher first number) will make braking more stable, but will also increase the chance of locking the fronts, especially when trail-braking. This needs to be avoided at all costs since you will end up understeering and be unable to turn the car into the corner.
Moving your Brake Balance rearward, meanwhile, will allow you to brake deeper and trail-brake into the corner, and is generally considered the fastest way of braking into a turn, but this also dramatically increases the chance of locking the rears which will result in the back-end coming around.
Having your Brake Balance set further to the front is, therefore, the safer option, particularly when you’re doing your first runs on a track and a car.
The Brake Duct Openings (Front and Rear) are used to cool the brakes. For steel brakes, aim to keep the operating temperature in the region of 300-650°C. Brakes shouldn’t drop below 300°C on the longest straight, but shouldn’t go above 650°C in the heaviest braking zone either. Bigger values here equal better cooling which reduces both overheating and brake fade, both of which are modelled in Project CARS 2. Lower values, meanwhile, means less drag and therefore higher top speed, while also aiding in better maintaining your brake temperature, but this can also lead to overheating.
Now that you’ve set your brake duct openings to a level that both cools your brakes while giving you the right temperature for optimal performance, it’s time to take a look at the downforce values of your chosen ride.
Downforce isn’t just about speed or traction: ultimately, it’s about creating an aero balance front to rear. The key word there is balance. Many a newbie thinks that increasing the front wing for more ‘bite’ and less rear wing for top end speed is best practice, but that’s actually the worst thing you can do because the rear tyres won’t be able to keep up with the fronts, and the lack of downforce on the rear will make the car oversteer in high speed turns. Your aero downforce levels is about balancing the front and the rear.
Again going back to our GT3 car for this exercise, the following can be used as a general guide for aerobalance:
―If the front downforce is at 0, keep the rear downforce between 2-5
―If the front downforce is at 1, keep the rear downforce between 4-6
―If the front downforce is at 2, keep the rear downforce between 6-8
This of course all depends on the track, and whether it is a high, medium, or low downforce-natured circuit. Set the wings appropriately―with higher values for tracks that are more dependent on downforce over top-end speed.
It’s also worth noting that some cars in-game may use different ranges, or not allow adjustment of a front downforce setting. Keep this in mind when you begin to adjust rear-wing only downforce: lower rear-wing values in this instance will allow for higher top speeds, but also encourage more oversteer in high-speed corners, whereas higher values will give you more downforce, but if you go too high, you will find the car prone to understeer as well increasing drag and reducing top-end speed.
The final component we want to tune for is Longitudinal Weight Bias. This is a topic that can take up entire manuals, but let’s simplify it as follows:
―Depending on the balance of the car, you want to move your weight around to try and keep the balance neutral. Consider the car’s handling, position of engine, gearbox, and differentials when beginning to move the weight bias around.
―Shifting the weight backwards will give better traction, and make the car nimbler.
―Shifting the weight forward will make the car safer to drive by increasing understeer going into corners, but can also reduce traction leading to power-oversteer on exits.
Now sit back and watch Yorkie065’s Insider’s Guide Episode 12 for a more in-depth look at these crucial settings. And as an additional resource or you want to take a look at optimial tyre pressures for other cars, take a look at these numbers from our Physics Developer, Casey Ringley.