THE INSIDER’S GUIDE
Some of the most fun, intense and closest racing in motorsport comes from Front Wheel Drive (FWD) Touring Cars, and the FWD cars in Project CARS 2 are no exception. With their lower amounts of horsepower and lift-off oversteer handling, these cars force the driver to attack with a smooth technique to ensure momentum and speed is carried through, and out of, corners. For Episode 29, we’ll look at how to get to grip with these cars which boils down not only learning to manage the lift-off oversteer but using it to your advantage.
Firstly, what is lift-off oversteer.
This is essentially oversteer that is induced when the driver lifts off the throttle while turning into a corner. With FWD cars, this is especially prominent as all the weight from the engine, drivetrain, gearbox and driver are typically towards the front, where the front wheels are doing majority of the work while the rear is “light”. With little weight at the rear of the car, and no power to the rear wheels, there isn’t much to press the rear tyres down into the tarmac and maintain grip, hence their desire to oversteer into corners off-throttle. The faster you decelerate and turn into a corner, the more lift-off oversteer you’re going to get.
So, how do you control it? Well there are two main methods, which, in combination, tend to work best:
- Counter-steering: Turn into the slide to counter act the car’s rotation.
- Throttle control: Apply throttle to move some of that weight rearward to help the rear tyres regain grip.
Whilst counter-steering is always good, throttle control is the main method for countering or controlling lift-off oversteer—or any slide from the rear of the car in FWD cars. If the rear has lost grip, giving it a boot-full of throttle and some counter steering usually straightens the car out … although not always. Be careful with the counter-steering in particular, as too much throttle and too much counter-steering all at once could see the rears grip up quickly and can result in what is known as a tank-slapper!
What you typically should be aiming for is using a small amount of lift-off oversteer to help rotate the car into the corner. Once you have the car lined up to where you want and know that it will flow through a nice radius throughout the corner, get the car settled with some counter-steering if needed while, simultaneously, getting back on the throttle to balance and maintain the momentum throughout the corner.
In the lower powered FWD cars, you’ll find yourself back on the throttle before you even get to the apex.
The amount of throttle required to keep momentum and control depends on the amount of lift-off oversteer you have at turn-in, and how the car is turning through the corner. If there is a lot of oversteer, apply more throttle, but if you’re starting to understeer and run wide, ease off the throttle, but don’t get off it completely.
The desired result looks something like this: you un-winding the steering angle slightly and getting reasonably hard on the throttle all at the same time, with little sliding, and hitting the apex and exit curbs with good speed and momentum. Things should be aggressive, but smooth, as sliding the car into the corners is going to cost you a lot of time and momentum.
With the higher powered FWD cars, you will also experience power understeer, and in some cases quite severely. These higher-powered cars still follow the same technique outlined above but require more finesse and finer throttle control to manage the understeer and wheel spin on corner exit.
As there is very little weight at the rear, what you may find is the rear tyres struggle to build or maintain the heat. This is natural to FWD cars, as is the tendency for the inside rear tyre lifting off the ground going into or through corners, as the rears tend to be very stiffly sprung. If you’re applying the right technique, you should be able to maintain a fair amount of heat in the rear tyres, though. If you need to warm the tyres, the best way is to weave the car whilst getting on the throttle hard, then braking in a straight line. Braking and turning, however, is not the best idea as it will invariably result in the rear swinging around and you spinning. You will also see much greater tyre wear at the front, than at the rear due to the front tyres doing the majority of work with both turning and delivering power.
Reading about the correct techniques for driving FWD cars is one thing but seeing it in action is quite another, so sit back and enjoy as Yorkie065 demonstrates the driving techniques that will get the most from your FWD cars.