Originally Posted by hotrod1933
this is more a general driving help question rather than setup.
this is for 21.5 blinky TC and last night 2-4 spread in a heat was 0.5 over 5 mins so a little in lap times makes a big difference.
My fastest laps always seem to be early on in the race say lap 2-5 usually when i feel i am finding my way and not driving near the limit. As I get what feels faster times drop off by up 0.5 I know this is the way I drive and slower can be faster. For instance i was scrubbing in a brand new set of green tyres once and just cruising around for about 5 laps knocking of the seam and did my fastest lap that day by 0.8
What do people do to things like steering expo or throttle to maybe slow down the way they drive. one guy last night suggested slowing down steering so the car reacts slower (yet to try) or is it more just general smoothness.
"Go slow to go fast". There's some truth to it. However, I've noticed with myself and some other racers, that once you reach a certain point of consistency, you can end up going slow to go slow.
Within a given round (to take out track evolution differences), how far off the pace of front-runners are you?
Are you using the same tires? Same tire age? Same tire prep?
What is the difference between your fastest lap and your top 20 average (consistency)?
If you're more than a second per lap off pace, and your consistency is more than about .4 sec on a good run, then chances are driving improvements will make more of a difference, assuming you have a decent setup. If your consistency is good, but you're pretty far off pace, then it's probably a combination of setup and driving.
Some things that would be helpful to know are track type, grip level, layout, tires.
In order of importance, the general things that have helped me get on pace are:
1) Consistent car setup. This was hard with the Mi4's, because they tend to lose their setup over a run, especially if I hit stuff. Just getting the car to work the same way every run too me 2 years to learn how to do properly, and made a big difference in being able to drive it the same way every run. Re-setting hinge pin blocks, droop, alignment, bleeding shocks, making sure nothing is binding, consistent tire prep, etc...
2) Drive consistent. Try and drive every lap the same, even if it's not the fastest way around. If you're having trouble driving consistently, no matter how hard you try (and you don't just suck
) it might be a setup problem. A big indicator is if you find yourself watching the car instead of watching where you want to put the car. If you feel that you have to watch the car, then the car is probably not doing what you want it to be doing, and a setup change might fix that. The first job is to get the car to behave well, getting rid of things like inconsistent turn-in, or abrupt changes to it's attitude when you get onto the power.
3) Don't overdrive the car. If you have to slow down more to drive a tight, consistent line, then slow down more. If you try to force the car to do a faster lap time, then you won't notice the things that are keeping it from doing that lap time, you won't know what setup changes to try, and you'll have bad consistency and think you're just not a good enough driver. Once you drive within the limits of the car, then it's easier to understand what the limits are, so that you can try to make setup changes to raise them. Do you have to slow down a lot to get a tight line into the corner? Look at changes to increase corner-entry steering. Are you getting into the corner well, but you're falling off the apex mid corner? Then look for more mid-corner steering. Are you getting to the middle of the corner well, but you have to wait to apply power to keep it from going wide on exit? Then look for more corner exit steering. It's very very hard to break it down like that if you're already off line at the start of the corner, because you're just flat out pushing too hard.
4) When in doubt, drive a tight line and shorten the track. The slower the corner, the more you want to shorten the track, because when you're going slow, it takes longer to cover extra distance. When you're focused on driving the tight line, you'll start to notice what is making it hard to drive the tight line, and that will guide your setup changes.
5) You still have to push, though. In about the middle of this past carpet season, when I was about .8 seconds off the pace, but with good consistency, I had a good (for me) qualifying run going. Then I rolled off a dot, and then got tangled up with some traffic, losing probably half a lap, and ruining the run (or so I thought). I got really frustrated, told myself "f' it, I've got nothing to lose now", and just started railing the car, driving it really hard. It was sloppy for a lap or two, and then the strangest thing happened: it started feeling locked in, and was just plain fast. I ended the run with a better time than what I was on before the mistake, consistency was still good, and my fast lap was like .4 better than I had ever done on that layout. That was the night I realized that I hadn't been getting enough heat into the tires, and that I needed to focus on setup changes that would let me drive the car hard into the corner on a tight, consistent line, while getting good rotation in the middle to drive out hard, and by the end of the season I was on the same lap as the front-runners, with fast laps within about .2sec, and good consistency.
Regarding messing around with the radio: I've been through periods of messing about with radio settings to try and make the car respond better, and I definitely don't recommend going that route. It's a Band-Aid. You don't want to slow down response, because that will make you feel less connected to the car, and make it harder to react to things like traffic. More servo and radio speed is a good thing. Messing around with expo to change the way the car reacts usually just leads to chasing your tail. You can adjust the way the car reacts with spring rate and shock oil, and get more rotation / steering with setup changes.
The only radio adjustment that I've stuck to is turning down dual-rate so that I only get as much steering as I need to get around the track. Too much lock punishes the front tires, can actually create understeer, and makes the car unpredictable through the corner.