Here are some scenarios and questions for people to think about. I know you guys know the answers to these questions, but think about them in the context of how this applies to comparing cars to each other. I don’t expect anyone to post answers. You can draw your own conclusions.
Let’s say I create something similar to the IROC series for R/C – so everyone has the exactly the same equipment – car, engine, pipe, body and transmitter, etc. We invite Jilles, Chris, Daniele, Martin, Paul and Dario to participate in this event. We give them a week to test the cars and they can do whatever they want to them and then at the end of the week, we get to see who is the fastest.
Question: How similar do you think the configuration and setup will be when you take a look at each car? Why?
After we see who is the fastest, we tell each driver to hand their transmitter over to the guy next to him and without changing any settings on the transmitter, they have to drive the car and see who is the fastest and we do this again and again until each driver has had a chance to drive each other’s car.
Question: Do you think drivers will perform the same, better or worse with the other drivers’ car and transmitter settings? Why?
We have one each of the different brand of cars listed above with identical equipment. We give the car to one driver, he has a week to test each car, do whatever he wants to it and at the end of the week, we see how fast he can get each car around the track.
Question: When you compare the setup sheet for each car, will each car have the same settings (value)? Reason?
So… A few more questions:
True or false? When you make individual setup changes to a car, you change the overall performance and handling characteristics of the entire car, not just of that of individual setting.
1. Yes or No? Is it possible, that in the process of making setup adjustments to compensate for track conditions, that a car can actually becomes slower than if the car were running on a track for which it was optimally baselined?
2. Yes or No? Is it possible to engineer a car that is minimally impacted by setup changes, such that it doesn’t lose speed under any track conditions relative to the track for which it was optimally basedlined?
3. Yes or No? Is it possible, that one manufacturer has figured out what the optimal chassis design is and the other manufacturers, based on their own testing of that design, are using a similar design on their own cars?
4. Yes or No? Do you think manufacturers decide to make improvements to their car based on the performance of other cars relative to their own car?
5. Yes or No? Do you think manufacturers delay release of improvements to their cars based on what improvements other manufacturers release first?
6. Yes or No? When a new car is released, do you think other manufactures analyze the car’s design and engineering changes and incorporate them into their own car?
On these last six yes or no questions, what conclusion can you draw if you answered “yes” more than you did “no” - and what conclusion can you draw if you answered "no" more than "yes"? Maybe there is no conclusion to be drawn.
Don't take this too seriously. As I indicated at the start, these are just things to think about...