THE INSIDER’S GUIDE
One of—if not the most—crucial aspects of any race is the start. It plays a big factor as to how the rest of your race will pan out, both in terms of track position and confidence. Getting a good launch from a rolling or standing start really is one of the central keys to setting yourself up for a solid race, so it’s surprising how many drivers leave this aspect of their race-craft to pure chance.
In this week’s Insider’s Guide, we’ll take a deep-dive into techniques and best-practices that will get your every race off to the best possible start.
There are two main types of race starts in Project CARS 2:
- Standing Start: All cars are stationary in their grid boxes until the lights either go green (or go off), at which points drivers are free to accelerate.
- Rolling Start: All cars are moving at a slow and steady pace until the lights either go green (or go off), at which points drivers are free to accelerate.
Let’s take a look at standing starts first. In Project CARS 2, there are three methods for standing starts and which works best for you is dependent on your skill level, preferences, and also your preferred peripheral:
- Starting with Automatic Gears: This is the simplest start type. All you have to do is put your foot on the accelerator and once the lights go green and you begin moving, modulate the throttle to manage any wheelspin. With Automatic Gears, the AI will automatically hold you in position in your grid box and shift into 1st gear when you touch the accelerator and will then release the brake when it’s time to go.
- Starting with Manual Gears and Automatic Clutch: Starting with Manual Gears and Automatic Clutch isn’t too difficult. Here, you simply have to ensure that you shift into gear and then accelerate to start moving. However, there are a few “tricks” here that can give you an advantage.
To get off to a cracking start, apply the brake and hold it while waiting for the red lights to begin their countdown sequence. A split second before the lights go green, plant the accelerator and hold it down, then release the brake once the lights go green. That’s how you’ll get the best possible start but, you need to be aware that, if you do this too soon, the auto clutch will engage and you will begin to roll forward likely resulting in a jump start. Also, your revs will drop, meaning you’ll need to back-off the accelerator before getting on it again; given the instants available, this will usually result in you missing the lights. Get it right though, and you’ll have the car squatting in preparation for the lights going green, at which point you simply lift the brake which will allow you to pull away just as the clutch engages and binds in. You have about half a second between putting your foot on the accelerator and the clutch engaging, so it’s a pretty fine line between getting it right and getting it wrong.
- Starting with Manual Gears and Manual Clutch: This is the most difficult way of getting off the line and should only be done if you have a clutch pedal. At the beginning of the start sequence, put your foot on the clutch pedal to disengage the clutch, engage 1st gear, and then balance the throttle and clutch together once the lights go green to pull away. If the starting grid is flat, you won’t need to use the brake to hold you in position. However, if the starting grid is on a slope, you will need to use all three pedals (clutch, brake and throttle) to hold yourself in position and stop you from rolling from your grid spot, whilst also pulling away as soon as the lights go green. When they do go green, don’t just dump the clutch! In low horsepower cars, this will kill all the revs and see you bog down. Instead, find the clutch binding point and hold it there for the first 10-20 metres before releasing the clutch fully.
Always remember to modulate the throttle to control and counter any wheelspin that you get once the lights go green.
The clutch clearly plays a big factor in standing starts but you don’t need to worry about it for rolling starts as you are already moving at a steady and low speed. However, that doesn’t mean a rolling start is just about nailing the throttle; there are techniques here, too, that will give you the advantage.
- Automatic Rolling Start: Very nice and simple here because the AI has complete control of the rolling start and will hand over manual control to you once the lights go green. You have nothing to worry about other than continuing on and going racing when you take over control of the car.
- Manual Rolling Start: There is an initial two second phase at the very beginning of the rolling start sequence where the AI has control: once that is up, however, you will have complete control of your car for the remainder of the rolling start phase. This means you must maintain your position in your train (there are two on either side of the circuit’s width) and avoid making contact with other drivers. If you’re at the front of either of the two trains, you must not exceed the speeds of 120kph/80mph until the lights go green.
In the Manual Rolling Start, the best practice to ensuring a better and more consistent start each time is to do the following: Once the red-light countdown sequence begins, slightly hold the brake and apply full throttle. You will need to modulate the brake input to keep your speed consistent and avoid hitting other drivers. Once the green light comes on or the lights go out, simply lift off the brake and you’re already at full throttle. This comes with a number of advantages:
- It is much easier to manage your speed with the brake.
- You won’t be caught-out in a situation where you’re off-throttle in order to brush off speed just as the lights go green. (Just watch out for other drivers speeds fluctuating, and keep an eye on your brake temps.)
- When you’re on full throttle as the lights go green, you’re already demanding full power from the engine. If the car has a turbo, that will also be fully-spooled and ready for maximum acceleration to pull you along once you release the brake. If you’re balancing the throttle instead, you won’t have that demand from the engine until you go full throttle, and you’ll also have to wait for the car and turbo to spool-up before it really starts pulling you along.
There are, of course, some dangers involved in trying to get off to a flyer: Because the starts are so crucial and all the drivers are so closely packed together, there are some pretty hefty penalties if you get things wrong:
- Jumping the start / lights = Drive Through Penalty.
- Making contact with another driver during a rolling start = 5 Second Penalty for each piece of contact.
- Exceeding speed limit of rolling start = Time Penalty (varies depending on speed difference).
- Being out of grid position in a rolling start = Drive Through Penalty or Disqualification.
So now that you’ve learnt the techniques, it’s time to park-up and watch Yorkie065 show you how it’s done in-game. And after that, it’s time to hit the track and get practicing!