Steve Smith's

Advanced Setup Guide

Part One

Part One | Part Two | Addendum

See also: Steve Smith's Secrets of Online Setups, 60/60/1 Setups and F2 Superguide

Steve Smith has written an extensive addendum to his book, Four Wheel Drift: A Car Guy's Guide to Grand Prix Legends. In order for the book to be included in the box with GPL, it went to press prior to the completion of GPL's development process. As a result, there are many details which Steve was unable to incorporate in the book.

Through the miracle of the World Wide Web, we had the first part of Steve's addendum in your hands within a matter of days of the appearance of GPL on retail shelves.

Here's the Advanced Setup Guide.


This is a section (don't call it a forum!) devoted to setup advice. I'm the guy who wrote the strategy guide ("Four-Wheel Drift") that ships with the game. But GPL was a whole different ballgame when I turned in the manuscript three months ago. Alison has generously given me this space to discuss anything I may have inadvertantly left out of the book, what has changed since the book was written, what we've learned since, and--occasionally--to correct any, ah, misunderstandings.

Particularly about setups.

Thus, I welcome the opportunity to "rewrite" the book online, and to grow the database of what we know about GPL's setups for all to see, and--hopefully--to profit by. But I don't want this to be just another laundry list of blind setups, grabbed off the page, and madly driven just once before joining hundreds of other discards in the Recycle Bin of history.

So, let's talk about it. I'll start off with the book's most glaring omission--why no Ferrari--explain it, and move on to other topics, like trail-braking, which I said in the book was ill-advised, but which, after being hammered unmercifully by my peers, deserves a second look. Or "Low-Rider" setups: to drool for in July; nixed at the last moment, it is rumored, by David Kaemmer, who thought the setups looked ridiculously unrealistic. They did; you could always spot the ringer among the AI cars--it was the one with the pavement-scraping ride-height and acutely angled halfshafts.

Anyway, here are some of the topics I'll throw open to discussion:

  1. The Mystery of The Missing Marque
  2. Taming the Wild Lotus
  3. Making the Eagle Fly
  4. For the Compleat Novice
  5. Forza Ferrari!
  6. Ferrari Redux
  7. The 400-hp Go-Kart
  8. Completing the Circle
  9. The Joy of Formula 2
  10. Further to Formula 2
  11. Discussion
  12. Erata

If you want to join in the melee, email me. I welcome your response on any of these issues, but reserve the right to edit them for grace, brevity, eloquence, or sanity.

--Steve Smith



The Mystery of the Missing Marque

Editor's Note

I differ slightly with Steve's rating of the Ferrari's competitiveness relative to the other cars. I feel that the Ferrari is superior to the Eagle almost everywhere except Monza and Spa, where its lack of top end power can't be offset by its excellent handling.

I believe the Ferrari is probably the equal of the Lotus at several tracks, including Mosport and Zandvoort, where it clearly outclasses the Eagle. It's a superb racing weapon for more difficult tracks like Mexico, Rouen, and the Ring.

The Ferrari is the best car at Monaco, but sadly it's uncompetitive at Monza.

All in all, the Ferrari is a sweet car to drive, probably the most delightful of all the cars in the game. When the track gets nasty, the Ferrari rocks!

- Alison

What happened to Ferrari? The marque is in the game, but each and every reference to Ferrari was excised from the book like Col. Kurtz' innoculated arms in "Apocalypse Now." Gonzo. What happened? Beats me. Probably Papy's bete noir, licensing "issues." I doubt that it was because of anything embarrassing I might have said about Ferrari in the manuscript. Far from it; I bent over backwards to praise the 312 as the best car, overall, in the game.

The 312 is relatively easy to drive; although not the easiest--that distinction belongs to the BRM. It's reasonably quick; although not as fast as the fleet Lotus (it's about on a par with the Eagle at most tracks, and faster than the others almost everywhere). It's quite versatile; equally at home on tortuous tracks like Monaco and on more open circuits like Zandvoort. It has a well-rounded power curve; not much on the high-end (its weakest suit, oddly enough), nor an abundance of low-end grunt, but a nice fat mid-range. It's agile; although not as nimble as the Brabham, but more so than the lanky Eagle. It's simple to set up; neither as finicky as the Lotus nor as vague (unresponsive) as the BRM. And over the long haul, particularly in full-length GPs, its reliability should stand it in good stead if you're going to make a run at the World Drivers Championship.

In short, the Ferrari is the best-balanced car of the lot; a car you can start with, learn with, and stick with. If you can't get a handle on the tricky-to-drive Lotus, I'd recommend the 312 as your next best bet.

Here are two setups I've developed for the Ferrari at Monza (which will be our test track for basic setups for all cars--I'll explain why in a sidebar).

Mon_Fer_Q (qualifying; 4 gallons/6 laps)

  • LF: 21 psi/65 lbs/2&3 shox/-1.25 deg. camb./1.0-in bumpers/174/174/174 deg.
  • RF: 21/75/4&2/-1.0/1.0/168/166/164
  • RR: 20/80/5&3/-.50/1.0/202/200/198
  • LR: 20/75/5&4/-.75/1.0/204/204/204

(N.B. The last three numbers on each line are the tire temps, as measured at the S/F line, OMI on the left and IMO on the right, just as they are shown in the box on the setup pages.)


Our Own Private Skid Pad

Just as in the book, we're going to work on our setups at Monza...and for the same reasons. Plus one more: now that we have hard numbers to go by, I'll be adding tire temperatures (at the S/F line) and mph figures (at easily located "data points" around the track) to the setups.

The tire temps will be measured after several laps at speed at the Start/Finish line. Assuming you know how to use camber and pressure to "zero" the temperature differences across the tread, you should be seeing about the same figures as me...if you're using the same setups. If your temps are higher, you're probably driving faster than I am and need to add a touch of positive camber (and maybe drop the pressure a scosh). If they're less, add a little negative camber and maybe a little more air. (Discussed in the book.) Note that the leftside temps will always be higher because you just came off a sustained righthand turn (Parabolica), although they should be even across the tread. The rightside temps will be staggered, with the inside higher than the middle by a couple of degrees, and the outside will be another couple of degrees cooler than the middle.

We'll also measure the speed at the S/F line, and at various locations around the track. In general, these are the speeds you should be seeing on a really good lap:

  • S/F line: 170 mph
  • Vmax, front straight: 190+
  • Vmin, Curva Grande: 135
  • Vmax, between the C.G. and the 1st Lesmo: 175
  • Vmin, 1st Lesmo: 80
  • Vmax, between the Lesmos: 120
  • Vmin, 2nd Lesmo: 85
  • Vmin, Ascari/Vialone: 175
  • Vmax, back straight: 190+
  • Vmin, Parabolica: 70

It should go without saying that these speeds are approximate...and will differ from car to car as well as from setup to setup. But each setup will be accompanied with real numbers measured at these points, so you can use them to compare to your setups.

I prefer this method to lap times because it has less to do with your driving ability and more to do with your setup. It breaks down a lap into easily reproducible sections for more accurate analysis. If you look at your 10 best laps, you should be able to interpolate these figure (they're not averages, they're observed maxima and minima). If you can string all the best numbers together in one perfect lap, you may be the next Ayrton Senna, but for the purposes of dialing in the right setup, it isn't necessary.

Data points (see sidebar):

For a short-race setup (11 laps), I added 3 gallons of fuel, dropped the RF 1 psi, added 10 lbs. to the bars, moved the brake bias forward 1 percent, reduced the coast-side angle to 30 deg., and lengthened the higher gears.

I'm not representing these setups as the be-all and end-all, but they should provide a good starting point for discussion. Here's how I arrived at the numbers:

First, note that the setups are asymmetrical. Monza is one of two tracks where asymmetrical setups seem to work (the Glen is the other), but asymmetrical setups don't work for all least, not equally well. (I'll cover this in another sidebar, later.)

There are three ways to make a setup asymmetrical.

  1. The geometry. This is generally to be avoided because if you get the front cambers much more than a quarter-degree apart, almost any car will get squirrelly under braking.
  2. The springs.
  3. The shocks.

Since the key to good laps at Monza is being able to take the Ascari turn flat out, and since the tendency is for most cars is to push here, note that by stiffening up the right side (and/or softening the left), you can get good grip on the righthand turns and still sustain a modicum of oversteer to help you around the fast left sweepers (Ascari and the Della Rogia). I added a quarter-degree of negative camber on the right side, and spread the springs apart 10 lbs. at the front (where the temps are farther apart, side to side), but only 5 lbs. apart at the rear (where the temps are closer together).

The shocks are usually the key to getting the car to "feel" right. I arrived at these values through a lot of cut & try. The only "theory" involved is that the extra bump compliance on the left side allows the chassis to roll into the turn without the sharp spikes (G-loading) that comes from stiff shocks, which is matched by extra rebound compliance on the right side. The opposite shock values (LF rebound & RF jounce) are an attempt to balance the overall shock response and minimize "snaking."

To get the car as low as practicable, I lowered the bump rubbers to their minimum (1 in.), and set the ride height for an inch in the front and an inch and a quarter in back. This is to minimize weight transfer, minimize scraping the tub under braking, and to prevent the suspension from bottoming under acceleration. These values seem to work for every car at Monza.

The bars are a little softer in qualifying for maximum grip; a little harder in racing trim for faster steering response in traffic.

The toe is zero at the front to reduce rolling resistance. You can add a quarter-inch of toe-out for better front end bite without much of a speed penalty (maybe 1 mph), but the front end "hunts" when the car rocks side to side. The rear toe-in is used to fine-tune the balance under full power in the Ascari curve (less toe = more oversteer).

The coast-side ramp angle is 60 deg. for qualifying to soften the transition from throttle on to throttle off entering the Curva Grande, and 45 deg. for the race to enhance the "faux" ABS effect discussed in the book. Likewise, the brake bias is 1% further aft for qualifying for maximum stopping power, and moved forward 1 click for more stability during the race (as well as allowing some trail-braking, which helps protect your line--you don't have to leave the door quite so wide open).

I usually lengthen the gears for the race, both to reduce the amount of available torque (controlling wheelspin for a whole race is a lot more tiring than preventing it for one hot lap) and to keep the engine from overrevving (especially when another car gives you a "tow"). The ratios shown allow you to use either G3 or G4 for the Curva Grande, and either G2 or G3 for the Lesmos, but G4 isn't tall enough here to power through the Ascari curve. The overriding concern is that you be able to get back on the power sooner rather than later in the Lesmos and--especially--the Parabolica (although I find I still have to short-shift, feather the throttle, or both in the final turn).

Comments? I'd like to hear your opinion. Email me.

--Steve Smith

Taming the Wild Lotus

The Lotus 49 is a very difficult car. Difficult to drive and difficult to set up. You can be one click away from perfection and it will still handle like a Fairthorpe Electron on a bad suspension day. But if you chance upon the magic numbers, the car will suddenly snap into focus and--if you're good enough--start going like stink.

Unlike the BRM, say, where you can run the numbers up and down to very little effect (MG Mitten once sold a set of rubber tools so you could play with the SU carburetor's settings to your heart's content without messing up the factory defaults), every tiny adjustment to the 49 will result in dramatic changes in the car's behavior. Unfortunately, like genetic mutations, most of them will only make things worse.

And unlike the Ferrari or the Eagle, which reward you with actionable feedback, theoretically-correct approaches to setting up the Lotus mostly lead to frustration, not solutions. For example, as the lightest car in the game, it should take the lightest (softest) springs in the game. But the car is so tricky to drive that you'll willingly trade some grip (which comes from supple suspension compliance) for better driveability. You wind up with a much stiffer suspension than logic would lead you to believe.

Thus, I have no idea whether the following is a good setup or not. It's simply the best I can do after hundreds and hundreds of laps, trying every darn thing I can think of. Let me know if it works for you.

Mon_Lot_Q (qualifying; 4 gallons/6 laps)

(N.B. The last three numbers on each line are the tire temps, as measured at the S/F line, O/M/I on the left side and I/M/O on the right, just as they are shown in the boxes on the setup pages.)

Data points (see sidebar):

What can we learn from this? The main reason I'm uncertain about this setup is because of the difficulty I had in preventing the car from pushing in the Curva Grande and the Curva Ascari. In theory, the Cosworth-engined Lotus has more than enough torque to steer with the throttle, even in fifth gear. Indeed, increasing the number of clutches to 3 or more will result in breaking the rear wheels loose with the slightest application of the throttle, but the breakaway is too sudden, too violent for me to handle. I went as low as one clutch, which works better in the slow-speed corners (the Parabolica and the Lesmos), but is too weak to be effective in the Ascari, and barely enough to get the job done in the C.G. With 2 clutches, you have to be more precise in feathering the throttle in the slow stuff, but it transmits enough torque to control the car in the faster turns.

I even reversed the toe settings from those I used for the Ferrari: one click of toe-out in the front (for better "bite"), and zero toe in the rear. Normally, no rear toe would send any other car into uncontrollable oversteer, but it works fine with the 49. In combination with the toe-out at the front, I could power through the C.G. and the Ascari faster than I've ever gone before. But the stiffer springs and bars seem to have cut my speeds through the slower turns. Wierd. (The car's fantastic acceleration more than makes up for the slightly slower corner speeds. For example, it comes off the Parabolica a mile-an-hour slower than the Ferrari, but is already 10 mph faster at the S/F line. It is a rocket.)

The rest of this qualifying setup is standard stuff. For a racing setup, I made the usual adjustments: a lower coast-side ramp angle in conjunction with one percent more forward weight bias (to enhance stability under braking), but the big change you have to make is to lengthen the top three gears so you're not as likely to overrev the engine. The Cosworth is unrealistically fragile, IMO. (In the real world, it was--and is--a remarkably robust engine, as witness their sheer numbers in vintage racing.) If you buzz it to nine grand in every gear, you will reduce it to rubble within a half-dozen laps. Thus, you want to keep it under, say, 8500-8700 (the F10 view doesn't do a very good job of conveying this gen), particularly in longer races. Note that even when you have the damage model set to "None" (in Training) you can still blow the engine sky-high.

But it's still a b*tch to drive. I like to be super-smooth, but driving this car is really taxing. If I was a better driver, I'd love this car, but I'm not even good enough to like it much. The next car I'll set up, the Eagle, is more my style...and a pistol at Monza!

--Steve Smith

Making the Eagle Fly

After suffering the Calvinist discipline of shepherding the Lotus around Monza, the Eagle is as welcome as a weekend in Bangkok. It's smooth, supple, forgiving--an almost hedonistic pleasure to drive--and particularly well-suited to the wide-open spaces of Monza. The Eagle's forte is high-speed witness the highest speeds I've yet seen in the Curvas Grande and Ascari (Vialone): it dips only briefly to 136 mph in the former, and effortlessly sustains 178+ through the latter (see Data Points below).

Not that the Eagle slouches through the slower corners (the Lesmos and the Parabolica). Indeed, its only shortcoming is an anemic low-end, which makes wheelspin easy enough to control, but gives it sluggish acceleration coming off the slow turns: only 168 mph at the S/F line and 117 between the Lesmos. OTOH, its top speed beats all the other cars in the game (I've seen 195-196 mph with different gearing).

Moreover, the Eagle accomplishes all this with almost symmetrical settings (the geometry is symmetrical, front-to-back; and the shocks are symmetrical side-to-side; only the springs are altogether asymmetrical), making it easier to gather the car up if you push it over the edge. You can set the suspension fairly soft (for best grip) and still retain excellent driveability, and you can power through the Ascari curve without resorting to oddball toe settings.

My race setup demands few changes. The forward brake-bias of 56% given here doesn't have to be changed; neither do the ramp angles or clutchpacks. But once again, the engine is unrealistically fragile (that is frangible; I'm not speaking to long-term reliability, which should properly be awful). The power peak is at 10,000 rpm, which would normally mean you could rev it to 10.5K with no fear, but I blew one in a 6-lap Novice race soft-shifting at 9.5K, so choose gears as long as you dare (and still be competitive). Makes you wonder what that rev-limiter is for, huh?

Mon_Eag_Q (qualifying; 4 gallons/6 laps)

(N.B. The last three numbers on each line are the tire temps, as measured at the S/F line, OMI on the left side and IMO on the right, just as they are shown in the boxes on the setup pages.)

Data points (see sidebar):

The figures in parentheses are from Matt Sentell's wild 1:30 lap of Monza in the Eagle included in the replays that ship with the game. He almost loses it in the C.G., so that number is an interpolation. Or, as they say, "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."

--Steve Smith

For the Compleat Novice

I am inspired by a bug to tackle a couple of setups for the unlovely, unloved BRM. An overweight loser, to be sure, but which has one shining virtue: it is a superb trainer for trickier-to-drive rolling stock like the Eagle T1G. The bug is this: if you select Automatic Shifting, the tranny goes nuts, shifting back and forth between second- and third- gear. The solution is obvious: by the time you get to the full-blown GP cars, you should long ago have been weaned away from crutches like automatic transmission.

But, while we're at it, if the BRM is the easiest car in the game, 6-speed and all, then why not the easiest setup for the easiest variant of the easiest car: the low-powered, 4-speed BRM Novice Trainer, with automatic everything: shifting, Braking Help, and Throttle Help? At the easiest track: Monza. You probably don't want to screw up your own .sts file, so you might want to sign up as the chauffeur of the Compleat Novice's car under a nom de drive like New B. Racer, or Wanna B., or L8BRKR. Handy when friends drop over unexpectedly; you've got a car they can drive fast right out of the box without embarrassing themselves.

If you're of a mind, you can edit .ini files so you can also race your Novice Trainer, a class 1 car (GP cars are class 3), against suitably subdued AI cars, and you can download substitute AI files from this site that will bunch up the field, slow them down, or spread them out. But let's start with a setup that makes the most of the 4-speed BRM: it's good for 2-minute laps, which will put you comfortably ahead of the other BRMs (Irwin is usually the quickest), but still several seconds behind Clark, Brabham, et al.

Mon_BRM_Nov (4 gallons/6 laps)

(N.B. The last three numbers on each line are the tire temps, as measured at the S/F line, OMI on the left side and IMO on the right, just as they are shown in the boxes on the setup pages.)

Data points (see sidebar):

The only remarkable thing about this setup is that the rear cambers are a full degree apart! I must've been stonkers. Under the circumstances, the tightly-coupled coast angles (x/30) help keep the rear wheels from brake-steering. Relatively stiff bars, soft springs (for such a heavy car) and shox. Tires never really do get up to grippier temps.

Matching the Bark to the Hype

If you're ready for the real thing, there is no easier a full-boat GP car than the 6-speed BRM T115. Sadly, despite having a couple of extra gears with which to row this stentorian beast around Monza, the ungainly H-16 is not up to the challenge. Almost everywhere at our reference track (see Data Points), the BRM is simply a good 5 or 10 mph slower than the Eagle (in parentheses), despite the BRM's surprising speed whilst actually in the turns. It's the acceleration out of them that proves the T115's undoing.

Mon_BRM_4G6L (4 gallons/6 laps)

(N.B. The last three numbers on each line are the tire temps, as measured at the S/F line, OMI on the left side and IMO on the right, just as they are shown in the boxes on the setup pages.)

Data points (see sidebar):

As opposed to the Advanced Trainer, there's a lot more torque trying to drive the chassis straight ahead (push) in the Curva Ascari, so the rear toe-in value is sharply lower, while the springs and shox are significantly stiffer (trading some traction for car control). On the whole, I'd rather be in Pittsburg.

--Steve Smith

Forza Ferrari!

If there's one track where the Ferrari ought to shine, it's Zandvoort. This swooping, swirling, soaring track puts a premium on the Prancing Horse's forte--handling--not drag racing (the province of that pocket rocket, the Lotus), and not top speed (the baliwick of Dan Gurney's sleek Eagle). Zandvoort also rewards a well-balanced car, which the Eagle is and the Lotus isn't, in my experience. The Lotus is twitchy and hard to drive almost everywhere, while the Eagle is better suited to long-legged venues like the wide-open vistas of Spa. If you do it right, you can cover the whole backside of Zandvoort in one fell swoop (and only one gear change), all the way from the top of the hill behind the pits to the next-to-last turn, Pulleveld (the blind, downhill right). If you can carry enough speed, you can even do the whole stretch in fourth gear, peaking three times: going into Scheivlak (the long downhill right); before the eponymous East Tunnel; and for Panoramabocht (before Pulleveld). The car is never pointed straight; it's segueing left and right in an almost continuous slide, with only one real stab at the brakes, coming up on the tunnel. Thus, more than half the track puts you smack in the middle of the Ferrari's sweet spot: surgically clean steering, and turbine-smooth mid-range acceleration.

Indeed, with my limited-but-consistent driving skills, I have been able to get the Ferrari within a tenth of a second of my best-ever Lotus time (with considerably less pucker-factor), and comparing replays, it's obvious that the Lotus' only real advantage is its low-end grunt (between Tarzan and Gerlachbocht, the hump before Hunza Rug) accounting for the difference.

As usual, this setup will be of limited benefit to the hottest sim drivers, but might prove enlightening to intermediate drivers struggling with a field of over-zealous AI cars.

Zan_Fer_4G8L (4 gallons/8 laps)

(N.B. The last three numbers on each line are the tire temps, as measured at the S/F line, OMI on the left side and IMO on the right, just as they are shown in the boxes on the setup pages.)

No surprises here. As is typical of my setups, it is soft (better grip, dicier car control). If I changed anything, it would be to stiffen the bars (to reduce roll) and the shocks (to quicken side-to-side transients), and go even softer on the springs...but that would entail readjusting the ride height and cambers. As it is, I found the front end was scraping with my usual one-inch of suspension travel, so I raised it a quarter inch to match the rear. The front springs are mildly asymmetrical. The front toe is a click negative for more "bite" when you turn in, and the rear toe is a couple of clicks more positive than normal to curb the oversteer induced by all those wild powerslides (the only way to drive this track).

The gearing could probably stand some tweaking, too; it really depends on whether you're lugging or overrevving in G3 or G4, thus, it's a matter of personal preference. [N.B. G1 is way too long for racing starts; but it's tall enough to use in the Hunza Rug hairpin, so you can gain a slight advantage in qualifying.] As are the ramp angles--you want the differential largely unlocked on the coast side to avoid sudden spikes on and off the throttle; you only need 85/45 if you don't have your brakes dialed in. Better drivers can also probably cope with more than one clutch, but I was struggling to get the power down coming off Hunze Rug.

Data points:

Rather than measure speeds at corner apexes here, I decided it might be more precise (some of the apexes seem ill-defined) to take readings directly abeam of the 10 camera positions around the track, thus:

Let me know how (and if) this works for you.

--Steve Smith

Ferrari Redux

I went back to my older Ferrari @ Monza setups to see if there was anything I'd learned in the last couple of months that might apply, and arrived at the following setup...which turns out not to be that much different. Slightly more negative front camber, much less asymmetry, a scosh less ride height, a few clicks less rear toe, a slightly taller top gear (I kept blowing engines), a teench more front brake bias, etc. Very stable.

Mon_Fer_4G6L (4 gallons/6 laps)

(N.B. The last three numbers on each line are the tire temps, as measured at the S/F line, OMI on the left side and IMO on the right, just as they are shown in the boxes on the setup pages.)

But I realize this is flogging a dead horse (so to speak). Alison's right; the 312 is "sadly uncompetitive" at Monza. I just love driving the damn thing.

--Steve Smith

The 400-hp Go-Kart

There's a controversey currently raging among the GPL cogniscenti. Wolfgang Woeger, described by some as "the fastest GPL driver in the world," has been winning a lot of races with a setup that--theoretically--shouldn't work at all. He's been taking all the free jounce/bump travel out of the suspension by shortening the bump rubbers to the minimum (one inch) and setting the SRH (static ride height) also at one inch, thus taking all the compliance out of the suspension and creating--in effect--a 400-hp go-kart.

In theory, this shouldn't work because it raises the spring (and bar) rates to infinity--or close to it--so the car should be skittering across the bumps like a stone skipping across a pond. Of course, there *aren't* any high-frequency bumps in GPL (there are some gentle undulations, but no real sharp bumps), which might account for the anomaly...but, then, go-karts (and AA Fuel dragsters) don't have any suspensions, either, and they work fine--just ask Michael Schumacher or John Force. In truth, there *is* some complaince in these real-world examples--chassis flex (totally absent in the sim) and the "give" in the tire sidewalls--but I doubt that the smidgen of compressability in the bump rubbers (it's progressive...and probably equals several hundred lbs./in.) accounts for its efficacy in Woeger's GPL setups. A singularity in the physics model, Mr. Kaemmer? To be fair, dropping the chassis onto the bump stops doesn't affect droop/rebound, so the inside tire will still maintain a modicum of contact with the road.

Nonetheless, this phenom is worth a look, if only to see The Impossible for yourself.

Here is Woeger's "Just Say No" setup for the Lotus at Spa. (When Doug Arnao said Spa can take the stiffest suspensions in the game, he wasn't just whistling "I Can't Drive 55.")


I tried this setup and found it surprisingly driveable, much easier to control than I ever would have imagined. (My zeal for soft, grippy setups knows no is well known; in some circles I'm known as Mr. Softie--no Viagra jokes, please!) It was very manageable exiting Malmedy, quite stable through the infamous Masta Kink, and exhibited only a touch of oversteer under full power coming up out of Stavelot. Everywhere else, it felt more like a real race car than anything else I've tried in GPL...and almost completely eliminated the notorious front-end lateral "porpoising" (hunting) that has plagued every Papy sim since "IndyCar Racing." Best of all, my lap times were a tick faster than any of my high-compliance setups (admittedly, not the best choice for the twitchy Lotus chassis).

Figuring if a little is good, a lot is better, I decided to see what would happen if you took ALL the complaince out of the suspension. I raised the springs, bars, and shocks to their highest values and had a go. Disaster! Totally undriveable. Further experimentation revealed Woeger's spring rates are right on the money, but the car (and my lap times) responded nicely to stiffer bars. On a hunch, I raised the bump/jounce shock values to the max (5) in a calculated attempt to "spread" the transition to the ultra-stiff bumpers, and after some cut-and-try, wound up with slightly softer droop/rebound numbers, to allow the inside wheels some downward deflection. This (with a few subtle changes to the tire pressures, brake balance, and gear ratios) is the result:


(N.B. The last three numbers on each line are the tire temps, as measured at the S/F line, OMI on the left side and IMO on the right, just as they are shown in the boxes on the setup pages. Sorry, I didn't record the corresponding numbers for Woeger's original setup.)

This worked like gangbusters: I knocked almost a full *six seconds* off my previous best time. It may defy the laws of physics...but it's made a believer out of me. Thanks, Wolfi!

Try it and let me know what you think.

--Steve Smith

Continue to Part Two