There is a good amount of variety in how you can approach the process of building a car setup. Some are catered towards professional drivers, some are catered towards drivers with less experience.
Often setup developers compete for the fastest lap time in order to advertise their setup as superior. However, these setups often feature extreme values that seek to undermine the intended functionality of the car and sim in general in an attempt to achieve these times. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as the simulation only allows values within a reasonable range.
Driving behavior can sometimes come second in these considerations and therefor the setup with the fastest possible lap time is not necessarily the best setup for every driver.
These setups often involve extreme negative toe values, maximum or minimum settings of various setup parameters like suspension or dampers. which can lead to both: an easier car to drive and a more difficult car to drive.
We believe that in most cases a properly worked out setup will achieve similar or the same lap times, while offering much better drivability and predictability. Especially for beginners or less experienced drivers it will often be faster to drive with a more stable setup.
Since none of the values mentioned above exclusively makes a setup good or bad we are introducting tags which aim to give you an idea of certain setup traits, which hopefully helps making a purchase decision!
The fastest setups often (but not always) come at the cost of staying easy to control during braking phases and the corner entry. This tag means that this setup will be stable under braking and the turning in phase from a setup perspective to be able to focus on timing for the turn in rather than fighting the car.
This tag means that the setup will tolerate some driver mistakes like too early or too harsh throttle application or an imperfect technique of trail braking. Mistakes less likely lead to the car spinning or otherwise becoming uncontrollable
Outside of toe and min max settings the general setup can follow an approach to make it drivable and more safe with less behavioral variety in different driving situations. That means the car will not drastically change its amount of rotation from braking, to coasting to accelerating situtions. For example it can be understeery in all situations from braking to accelerating, or neutral in all of them. Oversteery in all of them is not considered very drivable. A setup focused on drivability will make a race stint much more consistent and allow for a more "relaxed" drive.
The setup is adjusted to mitigate the balance impacts of wear and fuel changes over the course of a stint to keep the car drivable even in the late stages with an empty tank and worn tires. Some cars have the fuel tank in delicate positions leading to large balance changes with the tank getting emptier. Other cars have a lot of wear on one axle and the balance changes a lot from that. This might be usable for pro drivers, but most people will do better with a balanced approach often being a tiny bit slower per lap on average.
On the edge / lap time focus
Setups with this tag might hold several of the things mentioned above, from negative toe to min max settings in an attempt to sacrifice everything for lap time, which results in trickier car behavior. This might work for pro drivers, but can also lead to frustrating driving experiences for other drivers. However, if you can handle it, improvements might be possible.
These setups are often catered towards winning in high level competitions at all costs. They will be the fastest setups, but could again come with drivability issues or lead to hard to recover situations for less experienced drivers.
Aggressive aero settings often allow for faster laptimes, yet it can make the car produce a lot more aero on the nose than on the rear, which under braking leads to an unstable car. You need to be well aware of this behavior change under braking especially into fast corners and able to quickly and precisely countersteer already before turning into the corner.
Fast drivers ofter measure a car's lap time capacity by how fast and willingly it rotates and changes direction (responsiveness). The easier the car rotates, the more easily it also rotates too much. Pro drivers will be able to keep the car in check and only use as much potential as the tires can handle. For inexperienced drivers this can feel like a very happy rear end of the car, just waiting to step out on the driver with almost every input and can easily lead to more time loss than gain when unable to control it.
Don't be lured by lap time into thinking that this is also the best setup for you. Stay honest to yourself and use a setup that is suitable for you.
- Popometer.io Team