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THE INSIDER’S GUIDE

Knowing your way around pit stops in Project CARS 2 is a key ingredient to success and is the focus of this week’s Insider’s Guide. As in the real world of motorsports, weather in Project CARS 2 can play havoc with even the most measured of race strategies (which was the subject of last week’s Insider’s Guide—you can see that here); an unexpectedly hot track on race day could mean you need to get off those soft compounds for something more durable; a sudden rain storm could mean you need to get onto wets; or a drying track can only mean getting onto slicks at just the right time.

Taking advantage of the weather in Project CARS 2 can be the difference between a famous win or an avoidable disaster. And taking advantage of adverse conditions comes down to one thing: being able to respond by diving into the pits and getting onto the right rubber at the right time.

And that means having an intimate familiarity with the pit stop routine in-game, which is the subject of this week’s instalment of the Insider’s Guide.

Two critical things you need to focus on is knowing when to activate your pit limiter speed button, and how to avoid a penalty when exiting the pits. An error here will be costly. The solid white pit exit line at the end of the pit lane, which extends out onto the track and which divides the pit lane from the main track to prevent any collisions when exiting the pits, is your Rubicon—crossing this pit exit line will always result in a penalty unless you switch Pit Exit Penalties to OFF.

Naturally you can assign the pit limiter and driving into your pit box to the AI, which will do all the work until you cross the pit exit line, at which point you will resume complete control of your car. This is done by turning the Manual Pit Stop option to OFF. If, however, you choose to have this option ON, you will be fully in command of the pit stop.

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If you choose to do the pit stops manually—or race on an online lobby where this has been made mandatory—mapping a hot key for the pit lane speed limiter is absolutely crucial. You can do this in the Control > Edit Assignments screen.

The Pit Speed Limiter will prevent the car from exceeding the pit lane speed limit (60kph/37mph) when activated. With a button assigned, this can be toggled On and Off at any time whilst in control of the car—so make sure you have it mapped to a button you can access quickly (and without the risk of turning it on by accident!). If the button is not mapped to the Pit Limiter, the AI will turn it on and off automatically when entering and exiting the pits.

Turning the Pit Stop Visual Cue to ON is another aspect you may wish to consider if you’ve chosen to manually pit the car: this indicates where your pit box is located in the pit lane, and will highlight the location of your pit box. Switching this option OFF will hide this indicator, and you will have to identify the pit crew yourself. If you choose this latter (and more realistic option), make sure to spend a bit of time during practice driving to your box so that, in the race, you know exactly where your boys and girls are located.

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Your team is indispensable during a race weekend, but as in the real world of motorsports, they’re not perfect. You can make them perfect, of course, by switching Pit Stop Errors to OFF. Or, you can turn this ON, and allow for the possibility of your crew making random errors, or even your car sustaining random failures during a pitstop. This is only available for online racing (in single player, I is always set to On). Typical crew errors include dropped wheel nuts and slow tyre changes, while random car failures can include short-term battery failure. In online races, the online admin can force manual pit stops, as discussed earlier, but can also force random errors ON.

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A pit stop can often be a dramatic moment in a race where diving into the pits for an unexpected stop due to changing weather, or to grab a new set of softs, can change the order of the race. If you wish, you can turn the Pit Stop Cinematic Cameras ON, and this will allow the use of the cinematic cameras when you are in your pit box for a bit of added drama. Switching this option OFF results in a more immersive experience, though, keeping you in the same driving view as you were in when entering the pit box.

For the PC, you can also set the Pit Stop Detail which will decide the number of pit crew members visible when in the pit lane. You can select between the following options: None (only the lollipop men will be visible), Player Only (only your full pit crew will be visible, and you will only see the lollipop man for all other opponents), and Full (both your crew, and all other opponents’ crews, will be visible).

Now that you’ve sorted out your pit stops in-game, there are a few things you need to consider in terms of strategy, the first being—how long is the pit stop delta. Knowing how long your pit stop is going to take, from when you hit the pit lane to when you exit, is crucial information. This is something you need to know before the lights go green on a Sunday. If the pit lane is a long one, for instance, you’ll need to take that into account when making a decision to pit. Pit early and get onto fresh tyres will give you an advantage; but that advantage can be nullified if you rejoin the track behind slower cars on a track where passing is difficult. Staying out on slicks on a damp track when the rest of the field have gone into the box for inters may make sense if the pit lane is a long one, and you think there’s no more rain coming, leaving you with enough of a gap to take advantage of the track as it dries.

Knowing your pit delta, knowing how long your pit stop will take, can pay off big-time in a race. Part of the decision of when to pit is also based on the time it will take to refuel and re-tyre your car. For that, the following information may prove very useful:

—Indycar: 10.5 l/s (litres per second)
—Formula (SMS Cars): 12.5 l/s (litres per second)
—All other Vehicles: 2.9 l/s (litres per second)

Added to the time it takes to refuel, also remember that different motorsports mean differing pit tactics: For GT, Touring Cars, Prototypes and Road Cars, refueling is done first and, only once completed will wheel changes and potential repair-work begin. Only two wheel mechanics will work on the car, too, starting with the front wheels, and then changing the rear wheels. That means your pit stop will be a lot longer than what you’ll find for IndyCars and Open Wheelers where refuelling, tyre changes, and repairs are all done simultaneously, with a wheel technician for each corner of the car.

When it comes to working out your pit stop strategy in the race, preparation is critical. Know where your box is; learn the quickest way into the pits; practice when to hit your brakes to waste no time before activating your speed limiter. Know how long the pit delta is. And finally, make sure you know where the pit exit line is. Get all of this right for Sunday, and you’ll be coming into the race with an advantage. Combine that with some quick thinking, and you can use the real world conditions in Project CARS 2 to your advantage.

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