How to Create and Test Setups with the Insider’s Guide

Episode 20 of the Insider’s Guide to Project CARS 2 sees Yorkie065 explore the process of both creating and testing setups.

Setting Up

As you begin working on a new setup, it helps to keep in mind the kind of setup you’re aiming to achieve―is this for a Career race, or it is for a singleplayer or multiplayer race? Is it for an organised league, or a community race, a Time-Trial or Community Event? The type of event you’re building the setup for can make a big difference in how you test―and, ultimately, what kind of setup you’ll eventually settle with.

Additionally, if you know the type of conditions of the event―snow, rain, track temperature, and so on―you can build a setup to respond to the exact condition you’ll find in the event by replicating these in testing.

If, on the other hand, you have no idea of the conditions, it’s always wise to prioritise creating a setup for the race rather than qualifying; after all, with a stable and quick race setup, you can always run it on a light fuel load for qualifying.

When creating a setup, there is one rule that should never be ignored: make each individual change to the setup on its own. The process of setting up a car will see you make your one change―suspension, or ride height, or what have you―and then head out to the track to assess whether that change has been beneficial or not. Make sure to save this new setup in a new slot.

It is crucial that you don’t make multiple changes to your setup at one time: the reasons for this are numerous.

  • A single change affords a better understanding of what the one change has done to the car, and doesn’t get masked with other changes
  • Saving every change to a new slot makes it easier to go back to previous values if you don’t like the change you just made

While on the subject of saving, it’s always a good idea to have a naming convention/format that gives clear indication of when the setup was made, and the type of setup it uses. For example:

  • LB-Up4-HV3 (LB = track initials, Long Beach: Up4 = game update 4: HV3 = Hard Tyre, Setup Version 3)
  • DP-Jan18-SLD (DP = track initials, Donington Park: Jan18 = date, January 2018: SLD = Soft tyre, low downforce)

Testing: The Dos and Don’ts

The fastest way to begin tuning a setup to your needs and liking is by starting a test session and loading up the default setup, or a baseline setup that you plan on using as a starting point for your setup.

Now get out on track and do some laps―generally, five to 10 consistent laps should be enough, with the goal of nailing in a set of decent baseline times. Those times are going to matter as you build, so make sure they’re decent ones to compare against as you make changes and improvements. No cheating here! The idea here is that, the more representative those base laps are, the more accurate you’ll be able to assess changes to your setup. It’s not that useful to drive at 85/90 percent, then giving it more once you’ve made a change and seeing an improvement of over a second per lap, when actually the change may not even have contributed to the faster lap time as much as your driving.

Use these laps to also establish changes to make to tyre pressures, brake ducts (by looking at brake temps), and radiator opening for engine/oil temperatures.

Once you’ve nailed these base laps in, go to the setup and make the required changes to get desired tyre pressures, brake temps and engine temps, then save and go out and test to make sure you have them at the correct values with another run of five to 10 laps.

Once they’re all set, start looking at downforce and adjust for the track you’re driving on. Find the right balance between speed and cornering grip for good lap times and stability in high-speed corners for that track, as some suit low downforce settings, others will require a medium or high downforce setup. Again, make small incremental adjustments, save, test, repeat until you’re happy.

Repeat the above for other areas of the car you want to tune―diff’ settings, suspension spring rates (which will need damper adjustments each time you change them), anti-roll bars, camber, toe-in angles, and so on). When testing each change, make sure you do good five-10 lap testing runs to get a good understanding of what the change has done to the car. Some changes may not be felt in the first few laps when tyre and brake temps are coming up to operating temperature, and tyre pressures are rising to their hot pressures, and instead become more noticeable once everything has stabilised.

Work through each area of the car until you build a setup that you’re happy with. Remember, there is no right or wrong setup, particularly when it comes to building a race setup. You may not be lapping at world record pace, but that’s not what you’re after―you’re generally after a setup that feels comfortable and affords you the confidence to push to your limits. And each driver is unique; some will prefer understeer, some oversteer and dialing in oversteer simply because it affords better one-lap pace doesn’t necessarily mean you want to enter a race and fight your car all the way through it.

What you are after is a setup that feels stable while―and this is why those initial lap times are crucial―allowing you to be quicker than the setup with which you started.

Once you have that, it’s time for finer adjustments to each area to make sure everything is all working as intended; pressures and temperatures are all in the right zones, and don’t forget to get a solid sense of fuel usage and tyre wear. Then it’s just a case of driving the car with the setup to get comfortable with it and extract those last few tenths while getting more consistent through track knowledge.

Now it’s time to sit back and watch as Yorkie065 explains how to both create, and test, your setups in Project CARS 2 in Episode 20 of the Insider’s Guide.

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