Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
9/25/15 10:32 a.m.

The top of every race result or lap chart is typically dominated by talented drivers. But the pointy end of the field also has something else going for it: better equipment.

Sometimes that advantage comes from spending more money, but often it simply means optimizing the car and working the rules to the driver’s advantage.

A smart person once said that the last 20 percent of any job takes up 80 percent of the time spent on the entire project, and this surely applies to setting up a car for maximum performance. There’s a certain black art to extracting that last bit of performance that makes the difference between being in the hunt and landing on the podium—assuming the driving skills are present, of course.

Optimizing a car requires a metric for performance as well as a context for those measurements. For racing, the first part is simple: faster times. But the latter is a moving target, as the situation is ever changing. The venues, the weather and the other drivers on the grid constantly alter the situation. While you can’t control all of the variables, at least you can be ready for them.

So how do you get there? To start, you need to understand your working constraints and their level of priority: rules, budget and the like. From there, determine the strengths and weaknesses of your target vehicle and establish which variables will deliver the greatest overall performance increase. From there, you must optimize the parts—both individually and as part of an entire system—and learn to adjust for different situations. Sounds easy, right?

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te72
te72 Reader
3/29/19 10:03 p.m.

This really is the step that separates the one from the other hundred. Funny enough I can see my friends getting a bit faster, and while my car is really well setup for me, I can see where it needs some optimization to be on a level playing field with the other guys.

 

That, and worth considering your race environment when setting a car up. My turbo is great fun at low altitude where I sometimes play, but at higher altitudes where I live... it's a joke if I have to run a course in second gear, there's a nasty dead spot where it won't spool, but the transmission won't allow high rpm shifts, so... yeah. Optimization is needed. Fortunately, it's on the plan for this spring.

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