Hints and tips to set up your car (by Sander Maas)
What to look for when you are a starting driver in ICR2 or IIRS.

When you start in IIRS and you don't have much experience in setting up your car you might notice your name in the lower part of the results. This is not because you are slow, but because your car is slow. In this section we hope to be able to help you set up your car better. This way you will become a better driver and a faster driver.

How to create a setup:
Better said, how to find yourself a setup. Setting up a car from scratch is hard. It is much easier to use a base setup for a certain track and go from there. For most tracks setups from fast drivers are available on the internet. If there is no setup for the track, try and find a track that feels the same as your target track. You might find that several drivers take a different setup. Try them all and find what suits you.

Tire management and gear ratio:
The two most important things in racing are speed and grip. The two parts of the car that determine speed and grip are your gears and tires. Gearratio determine your topspeed, but also how fast you will get there. Remember that, especially on ovals you have the possibility to draft. Never max out your revs, but leave some extra room to grab these valuable draft mphs. Also, set up your gears according to the track you race. At California you will run in top gear all race long, so you know you don't need long lower gears. Conversely, some of the slow turns at Toronto need to be taken in low gears and there is no need for more than one long high gear.

Where gearratio is probably the most important at roadcourses and the superspeedways as good gearing can help you come out of the turns quicker and decides on your topspeed, tire management will be the issue at the ovals. If you don't preserve your tires you're bound to damage your car. In IIRS we run races which are a maximum 1 (regular) stop race, so you have the advantage of setting up a strategy. That strategy will consist of several things, but will depend on how your tires hold out. When you download qualification setups, you will notice these will always have soft tires. When you run a qualy and check your temperatures your tires will be smoking. But who cares? It is just for two laps!

In a race you would fail epically with only soft tires. Your rightfront tire which gets the most pressure will always have to be a hard tire. Depending on how much heat your right rear tire builds up it will either be a hard or medium tire. Hard or medium means less grips, but grip will come when the tire get heated. More heat means more grip, but too much heat means ice! Some drivers even choose to run with a medium left front wheel, but this would only be advisable if the track eats your rubber and there are many other ways to get the car in balance. When you have tires decided you have to work on the temperatures. Inner, outer and middle temperature should be the same. This can be done by two things, work with the camber and work with pressure.

In this explanation by Wayne Hutchinson, this is explained in detail, with an 'how to' for which changes to make. Shocks can also be used to improve on your driving, but are less usefull on ovals than on roadcourses. When testing, don't test for a lap or two, but run minimum 10 laps. You might have to find your own line and then suddenly you might see temperatures stabilize.

Fuel strategy and drafting:
A way to lighten the burden on your wheels is taking in less fuel. However, less fuell and thus less weight changes the balance. You have two extreme options to choose from. Either you run a race with a full tank and finish with a splash and dash, or you run two lighter fuelstints with even fuelloads. Your strategy will probably end up somewhere in between. Take into account when deciding on fuelload, when do you have to pit and when does the Ai has to pit? Can you draft with your choosen fuelload? Remember drafting also saves fuel! An extreme example, by choosing the right amount of fuel I could run 55 laps at California with just 35 gallons as I had the right weight and setup to draft. Normally 40 gallons will bring you only 40 laps! Do a few tests against the AI with different fuelloads. The lighter the car gets the easier the driving becomes. The first 10 laps are vital in keeping in touch with the leaders, staying in the draft and find your rhytm.

An example, running 125 laps at California:
To go back to my California example, it will give you an idea how to setup fuel strategy and how things can change during the race.

I know from testing that at California I can run comfortably 45 laps with 35 gallons of fuel if I stay in the draft. When I set the Opponent strength right I might even get 50 laps out of 35 gallons. Without the draft I can only run 40 laps on 40 gallons The race is 125 laps long. The best chance for a draft is in the beginning of a race so I know I have to save fuel and run extra laps there. Later on the field spreads out and you need to find a draft buddy, which is hard on a long track. I know now that I can do the race in two stops for sure when I get a draft in stint 1, so I start with 35 gallon there. I will be more nimble and better able to stay with my opponents that way.

When I start the race the draft works rightaway and my fuel gauge tells me 50 laps won't be a problem and I end up pitting after 55 laps. At that moment I know I only have 70 laps left, which I means I can run without the draft with two stints of 35 gallons. If I get a draft I might even need less fuel in the last stint.

In the second stint again I can draft but not as good as in stint 1. I run more than 35 laps, but I am not able to repeat the 55 laps. I manage only 40. Part of where I lose on the draft is when my drafting partner goes in 10 laps before I do.

My last stint goes without draft, but because I only need to run 30 laps I can do with 30 gallons. In this case I had to decide, go on, or follow my equally quick drafting partner. I decided to empty my tank. We might have drafted together and be quicker, but remember that the Ai is usually better with cold tires.

In the end you will have to find out what works best for you. The most important thing is to take your time and test. Sometimes all you need is to learn the track, find your rhytm or find your braking points.

John Howlett
IIRS Director