Setup Advice from Readers

Here is some excellent information about creating car setups in ICR2, posted to the Usenet racing simulation newsgroup by experienced sim racers. Also check out some excellent advice from Shane Pitkin and my Overview of Vehicle Dynamics.

A reader asks:

Are there any tricks out there to get your CART cars to handle better? Is it best if you balance the car perfectly, or should you run massive camber with totally different shock loads? I am having a hell of a time trying to drive competitively in ICR2, and can't get anywhere near the speeds that the computer cars get while going through medium speed turns. The AI cars just walk away, as i can't match their speeds thoroughout the corners without having the front end washout and going nose-first into the wall.

My response:

Check out Shane Pitkin's Velocity Motorsports. He has a zip file with an excellent setup for each ICR2 track. These are much more forgiving and driveable than the Papyrus setups, and much faster, too. With the Papy setups, I had to run the AI cars at 95% to keep up; with Shane's setups, I can run at 100% and take pole and win on most tracks.

Also, there is a lot of information on doing your own setups on the Web, and a variety of places to get good setups. There are setups which may be ultimately faster than Shane's but I don't think there's a complete set anywhere that is as good to start out with.

Here are some URL's:

Michael Carver responds:

First thing to watch out for in ICR2 is that the AI cars have unrealistic straight speed on the long straights. Do not set up your car to keep up with them on the long straights. Usually attempting to, will force you to take too much wing off the car. The affect of this is you will not be able to make the medium to fast corners well. It sounds like you may be taking too much front wing out. The front wing can help turn, but also helps braking.

I usually setup the front camber to keep the tire temps even across the tires after 4-5 good hot laps. If the springs are too soft in the front, it takes too long for the front wheels to take the weight of the steering change and braking. Stiffen them until you get good response to your steering.

If you are "pushing" or "washing out" (as you put it) going into the turn, try softening the shock on the front opposite side of the turn or tightening the rear shock on the opposite side of the turn. For pushing coming out of a turn try softening the front shock on the same side as the turn or tightening the rear shock on the same side of the turn.

Try to "trail-brake". This is the method of keeping the brake on slightly while you start your turns. This helps keep the weight over the front wheels and aids in making the turn. For the really tight corners you need to turn early. It's a fine art, but you almost have to aim for the inside wall when you start your turn.

One last point. Practice, practice, practice. Work on smoothness and consistency and speed will follow.

Another newsgroup reader asks:

Does anyone now of any ICR2 web sites with RACE setups? All the sites that I have stumbled upon seem to be solely focused on getting a perfect one-lap qualifying effort. Alternatively, if there is a simple set of steps to convert a qualifying lap setup to that appropriate for a full-tank drive perhaps someone could enlighten me!

My response:

Usually the car will understeer more on full tanks, so you'll need to put in more roll stiffness in the rear, or take some out in the front. You can change it back in small increments as the fuel load lightens and the car gets looser.

You may also want to run a bit more wing, particularly in the rear to make the car more stable and predictable in fast turns.

On some tracks, like the mile ovals, if your qualifying setup has soft tires on the right side, these may overheat, so you may have to go to mediums on the outside. This will probably require some tweaking of wings, roll bars, and/or springs/shocks to get the balance back.

Michael Carver responds:

I usually take one of the hot lap setups and start re-tuning with about 22 gals of fuel. This way by the time the tire temps are up I have a fairly "balanced" car to start my observations and tweaking. Usually the first thing to do is adjust top gear. Also look at the tire compounds, which are usually too soft for race conditions. Of course you know that in CART you must start the race on the tires you qualified?

Alot of the hot lap setups have removed down force with the wings. Anyway, the approach is start working by giving yourself enough grip to hold the line by adjusting the wings. It's now time to work just like you would in setting up any car. Watch the tire temps and make sure you are getting even temps across the tires (camber). Then start playing with shocks to get the balance and grip you need in the corners.

I find that I have to toss alot of the other people's setups out the window, since they don't fit my driving style. But, one can learn alot from analyzing the different approaches people make in car setups.

Doug Reichley responds:

If you are like me, you don't really care if you can peel off just one lap or not. All of my Q setups start with 14 gals of fuel for road course and 2-6 gals on ovals.

So as you can tell, going from 14 gals to 40 gals is not as bad as say 5 gals to 40 gals.

Take Portland for example. I can Q at 58.114s. For the race I just dump in 40 gals and take it easy for the first 3 laps or so. By the time the tires warm up I am peeling off sub 1m times. By the end of the tank I'm in the mid-upper 58's.

This is usually only good for road courses. At Milwaukee, I actually make some wholesale changes to that so it won't push in the early going. Milwaukee is never flat out anyway, so it doesn't show that badly in the lap times and more wing makes it easier to drive anyway.

For me road course Q setup = R setup with less gas. Makes for some wickedly quick race setups. ;)

For ovals, I make compound adjustments and maybe tweak the camber to get the temps back correct. I seldom change shocks, but a slight wing adjustment might be necessary to keep it from pushing. Not a whole lot, but that depends on the track. Oh, and I adjust 6th gear to get decent gas mileage.

Rick Martel responds:

You can check out my setups page, at

The setups I have posted I've used in my races (100% length, 95-97% opponents). Most of the setups are modifications of setups I've found on the web. Keep in mind that other people's setups are not necessarily the golden lining. However, try some of my setups, and some of the ones I have links to. Someone is liable to have setups which suit your driving style. Don't forget that they still may need some modifications to last through an entire fuel load.

Some of the modifications necessary might include tire compounds/pressures Shocks, roll bars. You can check out the Quick Fix guide I have posted on my setups page.

If you need more, send me an email, and I'll try to help.