Originally Posted by Geberit
+100 it seems Ed is doing all the work for them
I was expecting something from Fischer's ETS race but nothing
Hehe... Well, I don't pretend to do any proper setup work, I'm not sponsored, and most of my testing ideas come from chatting with other racers, and attempting to figure things out myself!
Now, I will say that I do know the Serpent team have been running some things recently that some might consider a backwards step, so I can understand why there hasn't been setups from some of the recent races. I'm not privy to say what exactly, but suffice to say, parts are being tested, despite the quietness on the setup front.
With regards to setups, I'm gonna post up my two latest setups, for two pretty different tracks. Gonna apologise in advance that it's a long one, but I've got (now) 12 hours to kill in Melbourne airport whilst travelling back to the UK, and I'm trying to pre-empt the jetlag by staying up, and listening to the LeMans test day, and F1 race...
I have to say, I have been very happy with the car over the past two weeks, really found some pace, and consistency as well.
The main change has been to shocks, where I've switched to a much heavier level of damping than I had been running. What I found with that was that I could then run softer springs, without detriment to cornerspeed and reaction, whilst also gaining a car that is easier to drive... win-win really!
First up, the Logan settings. This track is pretty fast, with some big sweeping turns that reward mid-corner steering, and keeping the car flowing. It's not overly bumpy, but there are a few bumps in some tricky places, so having the car relatively complient helps.
Geometry wise, I kept the car close to what I had been running previously, and the biggest (best) alteration was going to a 3hole piston, 500 oil to a Ride Green spring, compared to the 4hole/500/Blue combination I was on before. As mentioned above, corner speed didn't seem affected, but it coped with the bumps better, and gave a smoother car to drive.
The other parts I played around with were the rear blocks, battery position and the bump steer spacers.
Rear blocks wise it was a case of trying (again) the split block/wider (0.5/3.5) combo vs the one-piece/narrower (0.0/3.0) combo. One small tweak I did make between the two was to also switch out between a grub screw and normal screw in the bottom of the motor mount when changing between the two as well. The one-piece 0.0/3.0 seemed to prefer the grub screw, whilst the 0.5/3.5 preferred having a normal counter sunk screw. A small subtle change, but a handy tweak to compensate for the difference in flex. In all honesty was difficult to tell the difference (both had similar, i.e good, mid corner steering
), and unfortunately before I was able to do a final back to back the rain came, so will need to test that one out at Logan again.
In terms of the battery position, having spoken with David at Serpent recently he mentioned about using the battery in a full forward position. I tried the battery in this way (with connectors at the back, and the plastic mounts turned to move the battery forward), and honestly didn't like it. Car lost a little of the rotation that it had before (no really bad thing, as it did rotate quite hard before), but also lost traction over the rear, with it almost feeling skating across the surface. Simply turning the battery around, and putting the connectors at the front, helped to regain the traction, but keeping the slightly lower rotation. Given it felt nice... kept it on the car, and think I'll just leave it like that for there!
Last item on the Logan testing agenda was the bumpsteer spacers. In my wisdom (
) I had decided to start the meeting having reduced the level of knuckle spacers from 4 to 3mm... and I'm not sure why! Going back to 4mm at the end of the day resulted in a big improvement for the car in the sweepers, being able to hold the middle much better, and also seemingly helping making the more easier to flow through the rest of the track... bit of an 'oops!' there!
Anyway, onto the Wynnum setup. Wynnum is a very different track to Logan, much more technical, and much more bumpy. Grip level is not dissimilar, if anything Wynnum is a higher initial level now thanks to it's recent re-coating, and the surface is more consistent across it's width (no real line appears, at least not on a club night).
I had a good idea of what I wanted to try at the start of the night, as I hadn't raced on the new surface before, and from previous experience, harder springs had worked better. During practise, I flicked between HPI Silvers, Ride Blue and Green's, as well as the two different shock combo's from above. Car felt the smoothest on the Green's, with 3hole/500 (so same as logan), but still wasn't great over the bumps, seemingly skipping across, and reaction wasn't great either, which hurt in the succession of hairpins at the end of the track. The harder springs were worse over the bumps, but did improve the car at the end of the lap.
Having a bit of think on this back in the pits, and having seen a couple of cars looking good on the Yokomo springs, decided to go even softer on the springs (to Ride Yellow), and raise the roll-centres by taking 1mm of shims out of the inner upper links... Straight away, big improvement. Way better on the bump sections, but also corner speed and reaction were up, with less roll and scrapping too. Pretty much dropped my lap time's by about 2/10ths, so a good find!
Next up was going to a gear diff in the front. For this I used mouldable ear-plugs, with a drop of oil to help it move. Really tightens up the front end, and doesn't seem to get softer during running like some of the heavy oils. I had used a gear diff at Wynnum before, and it felt good... and this time did the same again. Really helped in the banked 180 at the end of the straight, as the spool would wash out a bit, and then also helped as well in the hairpins. Gained about a 10th with this change... so two runs and 3/10ths found
After that nice improvement, worked on the steering setup again. First up was going back to 3mm bumpsteer. I know I mentioned above that 4mm was best for logan, but at Wynnum due to the bumps and more technical nature, 3mm worked for a better balance, and less susceptible to being jinked around. I strongly believe that this is a setting that really shouldn't be over looked, as in the times that I've played with it recently, it has made a noticeable difference to the car, not just in terms of feel, but also balance.
Last change I made (before rain again stopped play… yes, really!) was dropping back from 2 to 1mm ackerman spacers. Honestly not sure how much an improvement it made, but car did feel a bit better in the hairpins, whilst loosing a bit of aggressiveness in the faster corners. This is another setting I want to check again at a later date, and even throw a 1.5mm spacers as well, although I feel (atm) this is more of a tweak to feel rather than actual grip generation.
One last thing I should mention is that due to a busy old week, I didn't get a chance to switch any of the setup out from the previous weekend at Logan, and that included having the 0.5/3.5 rear blocks... actually ended up leaving them on the car, as they felt good. Was meaning to test the one-piece version as well, but aforementioned rain stopped that, along with trying out the front braced top-deck I have in the pit-box.
Still, overall made some really big gains with the car the past few weeks, and I can strongly suggest giving the settings a try. They both use the same fundamental geometry, with the tweaks being mainly track specific… and I would be pretty confident of taking either setup, and adapting it to most outdoor tracks pretty quickly. To put it another way, these are now my base setups for each track, with the main testing I'll be doing in the future will be on small tweaks rather than sweeping changes.
Next time out (which will be Logan), I'd like to give 4hole/600wt a try, as well as the aforementioned ackerman spacers, and top deck... always more to test.