I think jeffreylin said it best:
Originally Posted by jeffreylin
...in truth, many upgrades we do to our cars do not improve our lap times at all, but they sure make us feel better about our cars, and i am certainly guilty of that. but this is a hobby and you should have fun with it.
My current view is, that any pro driver can tune the current line of top cars out of the box and perform well. We've either witnessed or read stories about pro drivers taking the slowest car on track (usually a rookie's), tuning it "as is" and beating the fastest car on the track. Just like any other sport, there are those that are naturals at tuning and driving.
As for the rest of us mere mortals, we need all the help we can get - even if it's purely psychological.
There are certain upgrades that will definitely improve a car's performance
- bearings, belts, servos, chassis, etc. And certainly upgrades that will definitely improve a car's durability
- 7075 aluminum, titanium, composites, etc. These types of upgrades are definitely money well spent.
There are other upgrades, that I feel are more dependent on the tuner for performance gains rather than the products themselves. Such examples would include someone buying a Skyline V12 tuned pipe that doesn't know how to tune an engine - or someone buying a blade swaybar that doesn't know how to adjust it properly - or someone changing springs and not knowing what corresponding shock oil weight to use. In these examples, the upgrades actually result in zero to negative performance gains.
I guess my point is, whatever upgrades you do, need to work for you. It doesn't neccessarily matter what other people think (but their opinion and experience should be taking into consideration) or if the upgrades work or don't work for someone else. If you can make something work and gain from it, that's great. If other people can gain something from your experience, then that's great too - but that won't always be the case. If you buy something and it doesn't work, it's important to understand why it's not working for you, instead of initially blaming the product or someone else's recommendation. An exception would be if the part is truly garbage or made of inferior materials (i.e. 3Racing is really getting slammed by the MTX-4 guys).
One thing I've noticed about this hobby, is that people are very respectful of other people's opinon - even if they don't agree with you. I really love it when you find things out the hard way and someone has that "See, I told you so?" grin on their face.