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 Oval racing tips/advices/technical

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Austin Johnson
Jacob Fredriksson
Vincent Beretta
Carl Larrad
Alberto Ibañez
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Alberto Ibañez
Racing Legend
Alberto Ibañez


Number of posts : 16788
Age : 119
Location : International Simracing Organisation
Registration date : 2010-09-17

Oval racing tips/advices/technical Empty
PostSubject: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSat 24 Jan 2015 - 9:42

**** French version coming later in the next post ****

Since many people here are new to oval racing, I have compiled this text about it where you can find the most relevant info you need to speed up the process of learning it.

Believe me, it's great racing -just different from road raicng- and once you are hooked you will always love to race again on circles.

For our HSO community, knowing how to race on ovals and enjoy it also expands the possible races and championships we can do, which is always a good thing.

I will upload a setup for each race to the web, for those who need one.

Have fun and if you have any questions just ask :hello:

Quote :
/////////// TIPS FOR OVAL RACING: ////////////

GENERAL:

Think of an oval track as a magnifying glass. Whatever part of racing you consider (set-up, racing line, smoothness, errors), it's effects are exaggerated on an oval, but there are four things that stand out:

1) In road races you have to make compromises for the variety of turns. Not so in an oval. Because you have few turns and all are to the left, you can come  closer to perfection on the setup for any given corner, which means that a small difference in your car will be a deciding factor. A great driver on a road track can make up for the deficits in his car, on ovals this is simply not possible.

2) Second, because the speeds are generally high (The turns at a short track like Milwaukee are faster than the fastest turns on most road tracks) you don't have a problem with throttle control but instead your main objetive is to keep your speed and not scrubbing it off. The importance of smoothness is extreme.

3) Third, the nature of the ovals makes the cars race closer together, and therefore you will be mostly in heavy traffic with cars around you. This means having to know and trust the other guy racing near you, and being able to place your car accurately on the track. You also must learn to live with the aero effects the cars around you will produce.

4) Finally, you must be aware that you are racing on a track enclosed by walls. That means that an oval can, and in fact usually is, a very unforgiving enviroment, especially with open wheel cars. The penalty for errors here is usually not simply losing positions but slamming the wall and retiring.


GAME OPTIONS:

1) Graphics:

- Cars spinning at high speeds cause lots of smoke, which is dangerous. Reduce the special effects detail to see better.

- Reduce the details of the cars if needed, but allow as many visible ones as possible. You can see very far in ovals, and it is important to plan what you will be doing in the nex hunderds of metres because you will be getting there REALLY fast.

2) Sounds:

It is very important that you configure your sound options correctly. You must activate the spotter and also set it to maximum detail/content. That will give you these very important reports when driving in traffic that allow you to be more aware of what is going around you:

Car outside: means a car is on your right side
Car inside: means a car is on your left side
Three-wide in the middle: means you have a car at each side
Still there: The car he warned you about is still running on your side
Clear: You have nobody around and can change lanes if needed

3) Misc:

- Program two buttons for raising/lowering the boost pressure on your steering wheel. You will want to play with that during the race.

- Change your speed units to MPH. With Km/h the numbers go up and down very fast and it is more difficult to be aware of the speed you are doing at a given moment. It might ultimately not be as precise, but it gives you more awareness, which matters most.

- Get a decent HUD plug in, simple and uncluttered but effective. You want a good fuel consumption/lap predictor.

GENERAL DRIVING:

- You have to be SMOOTH and PATIENT

- Your main objective is to carry as much speed through the corner as possible. Use your apex speeds as a reference to know if you are going faster or not.

- Think of your steering wheel and your throttle as the sides of a balance (Steering wheel is left and Thottle is right): When you turn the steering wheel, the left side goes down and the right side goes up (You lift throttle). On turn exit you do the opposite and apply thottle as you center the steering wheel.

- Your steering wheel is a brake: Turn it as less as possible, just what is needed to point the car where you want to go. Do NOT jerk around with the steering wheel, it scrubs speed off and overheats the tires.

- You not only steer with the steering wheel but also with the throttle. At the same steering wheel position, cutting gas will make the car go down and point into the turn, while giving gas will push it up to the wall.

- Do NOT, NEVER stare at the car in front or to the corner apex. Alternate your look and ALWAYS be aware of the turn exit location, even when you are entering the turn. Ovals require a smoothness you will only get if you point the car right already when entering the turn. You must know where your car will end the turn, it is important because there is a HARD WALL there, so you better be sure you end your turn some cms before it. Use your peripheral vision to control everything else while checking your overall path through the corner.

- Scrubbing speed through an error will make the other cars dissapear quickly in the horizon. Don't get angry, keep your calm and concentrate in being smooth. If you start overdriving the gap will grow, if you run smooth you will catch them back sooner than you think.

THE RACING LINE:

- Because the turns are fast, your priority is not just accelerating quicker at the exit, but doing it from the already fastest speed possible. That means carrying more speed through the apex.

- Think of the ball rolling around freely in a roulette as you see in a Casino. Your car must go around the corner like that: constant, smooth, effortless, FAST.

- The technique is as follows: When you arrive at your entry point, you already look to the EXIT, to the point you expect your car to end the turn. Do NOT look to the apex directly. Look to the turn finish point, turn your steering wheel smoothly to aim the car there, connecting in a gentle curved line the apex with that point. Form then on, use throttle (Not the steering wheel) -and if necessary slight brake on turn entry- to ensure the car STAYS pointed to that exit mark.

1) Turn in:

- The turn in point is earlier than on road courses. Do NOT try to brake late and turn the car around to straighten the apex-exit line for harder acceleration. You will kill the tires and be slower.

- If you can put your left front wheel inside the white line easily, you are not going into the turn fast enough

- If your car slides a lane to the right, you entered too fast

2) The Apex:

- The apex is LONG, not just a point but more an area, and there can be several seconds where you have to go with constant half throttle and the steering wheel turned full, hugging the inside. Be sure to add enough throttle to keep the speed in that zone. One of the rookie errors is to continue losing speed at that part of the turn, until the point you start exiting the corner.

- Some long and fast turns can have double apex.

3) The Exit:

- Applying throttle at exit is done progressively. Do not worry if you stand for an -apparently- long time at 3/4 and can't press the pedal full. It is faster to do an apex at 162 MPH and go out 3/4 throttle to 175 MPH than doing the (long) apex at 158 MPH and go out full throttle to reach the same 175 MPH

- If you slide up to the wall at the exit or your steering wheel is still turned to the left trying to avoid the wall, you gave throttle too soon or too much.

Finally, be aware that oval racing is many times tridimensional racing. When the track has enough banking, you can not just go left and right but also up and down. When you go up a lane you go faster but on a longer distance (Same elapsed time). It is useful to pass, to defend, and to let others pass. Remember that going up means you store energy (Gravity) and therefore when going down again you will do it faster.

NOT ALL tracks allow this. Homestead for example has mostly flat turns with little banking and there is just one main line to race, even if the track might seem very wide.

One last advice: The turns are never equal, not even in apparently symmetrical ovals. There are subtle differencies and you must learn them because they do affect your laptimes. A bump, a minor banking change, a different transition from straight to turn, the wind getting you faster in one direction and slower in the opposite, whatever. In some triovals the differences are quite big and you must compromise one turn (Usually the slowest one, were there is less to be gained).

EMERGENCY SITUATIONS:

- To prevent hitting the wall at corner exit, do not turn the steering more or hit the brake, just lift the throttle, but do it smoothly. An abrupt lift will unsettle the car and complicate things even more. It even might cause a spin because your front tires were too turned to the left and sliding, hence if they regain grip suddenly you will oversteer against the wall.

- If you have to hit the wall, be sure to do it sideways, not with the front corner or the rear.  

- If you lose the rear and spin, do NOT try to counter steer. It can cause a sudden response launching the car against the wall front-end first.

- If you have still some control try to bring the car low, the grass in the infield is softer than the wall on the outside

- When you see a car spinning in front of you, go HIGH. Gravity will normally take the spinning car down to the infield. If is close, aim for the car and hold the trajectory, do not react to whatever the spinning car does: when you arrive there he will be gone.

CAR SETUP:

- You WILL know when the car is rightly setup. It will run freely through the corner with easyness, like the roulette ball example. No matter if that is not the fastest configuration, it is what you want for the race. You can use something quicker and not so nice for the qualy, but don't be a fool when choosing your race setup.

- If you have no idea about how to setup a car, get a setup from someone who does. It is not easy, and for ovals it is even more difficult. You will gain more if you dedicate your time to improve your driving.

- Do not judge the car in cold tires. Warm them up nicely. With hard speedway tires this takes some laps. Do NOT charge into the corners and overheat the right front tire or you will never be able to evaluate your setup because the most important tire will be giving wrong feedback.

- As a general rule, open wheelers are aero cars and you must ensure you have the most stable aero platform possible. Raising the right side a bit when compared to the left will make it corner horizontally when it leans into the corner, which helps the underbody generate downforce. using slightly stiffer springs on the right will also work well. Same for tire pressure, you want some more on the right side ones.

- The small speedway wings do not always have enough downforce to balance the car. If it understeers too much, raise the rear a bit to move the centre of pressure forwards and balance the car (Do it in 1mm increments each time). ALWAYS ensure your car is balanced with no more than "4" or "5" in the front wing. If you have to set the front wing to the maximum to balance the car, you have no margin for adjusting the balance during a pit stop and you will run the whole race with a car you do not like.

- Banking has lots of effect in compressing the springs and bottoming. Flat tracks will accept much softer suspensions.

- The correct order to setup an indycar for ovals is:

1) Find the ride height you can get away with. You do this by trial and error starting the car with race fuel load as low as possible and then adding spring till it doesn't bottom any more on turns. If you have to add too much spring raise the car slightly. Try to always rise the rear instead of the front.

2) Balance the car with front wing, no more than setting "4".  

3) Fine tune the balance with antiroll bars. The front one will affect turn entry (stiffer=more understeer but more stability), the rear one traction at turn exit (Softer= more understeer but better traction). For slow tracks you need some more traction, for fast ones you want stiffer rear bar. In any case, be moderate with antiroll bars because they transfer weight in the wrong direction. You will be losing mechanical grip with them, hence soften them if they compromise the aero part of the car.

4) When in doubt, go for balance instead of laptimes. A slightly faster car that is tyring to drive will not pay off in a race. Be sure you are comfortable with the car even if you think you are slow. When you get it right on an oval (Your driving + Correct setup) you will feel that you can lap for hours without getting tired.

- The underbody generates less drag than the wings, but still does. On the superfast tracks you will want to raise the car because you have enough grip for the open turns and want instead less suction/drag. That will also allow you to use softer springs for better mechanical grip.

- Tire temps are your best telemetry. Use camber and pressure to get uniform ones, with the inner side lightly hotter on right side tires. For the left side ones try to get a uniform temperature all around. If your tires are happy, you will be fast.

- Racing close to the car in front will cause understeer. Take this into account on your setup for race start and later on pitstops. If you start in the middle of the pack on fast speedways you will want some more oversteer to compensate till the cars space and you can run clear. In the first pitstop you can then substract front wing angle and get normal balance back.

- Steering angle: Use as little as possible and configure it so that you turn your steering wheel exactly 90º left on the apex of the slowest turn. That will help you being constant and noticing the differences between laps because you will program your brain quicker to turn that much the wheel and can concentrate in other things.

YELLOW FLAGS, STARTING AND RESTARTING:

- You can use your pit speed limiter as cruise control during yellow flags. Place yourself behind the car you must follow, at the distance you think is OK and activate the limiter to cruise behind it.

- Ideally you must not be directly behind the other guy but instead offset to one side. That allows the following car to also see better and improves safety.

- Keep "vehicle labels" on at all times (TAB key by default). On restarts the car in front of you should be highlighted in yellow (Including the Safety Car). If you are following someone whose label is in white, then you are in the wrong position.

- Waving, accelerating, braking or doing any of that nonsense to heat tires will not work while cruising under yellow, nor is it necessary. The hard speedway tires will not heat much from doing that at slow speeds, and the correct start is done when already at racing speeds.

- Remember to reduce the boost to minimum (1) while cruising behind the safety car. Also, use the longest gear you can. That will reduce fuel consumption considerably.

- In the starts/restarts you need to be very careful with the lack of grip at reduced speeds and when using speedway wings. You must restart on a long gear and pick speed smoothly, only giving full throttle once you are fast enough.

- This is not a standing start, do not try to accelerate violently.  The pack is intended to hold formation while picking speed smoothly until they are at racing speeds, and then go real racing once they pass the start line.

OVERTAKING:

- Because the turn in point is earlier (You have less space on the inside), the apex long, and there is no heavy braking before the turns, overtaking is different than in a road track.  

- You pass on turn entry only if you got in the straight already forward of the other car’s half before the turn-in point.

- You can pass on the inside by the apex if the other guy got in too fast and slides up but you held your trajectory well.

- You can pass on the exit by drag-racing the other guy to the next corner if you got a better turn exit. For that to work, you must trick him into protecting his inside making him believe you are passing on the apex, so that he chokes his turn exit, but staying yourself higher for a late apex and quicker acceleration out (Yes, the “incorrect” road racing style. It works here only because the other guy lost the same speed trying to block you but is in a worse position to accelerate his way out). This is the main way of passing at short tracks. You will be at his inside and parallel by the next corner turn in, and will take position. This leads many observers to believe (wrongly) that the pass was a genuine “going in” pass, while in fact it really happened the turn before.

- Most of this is valid for lapping cars

GETTING LAPPED:

- As a general rule, do not try anything different than what you are already doing. The faster car got you, and it’s his business to go around you. Because he is faster, he will probably be able to do it.

- Follow your usual line but do not come as close to the inside of the turn if he goes under you (On your left). You will need to go a bit slower for that to work, but just a tiny bit will suffice.

- At all moments, concentrate in your trajectory, it is VERY easy to watch the passing car and go against the wall at turn exit because you missed your turning points and went out of your path.

- Remember that the use of the throttle is counter-intuitive here: Adding gas and steering lock will not bring you down to the inside of the turn but the opposite. As strange as it might seem, if a car is passing you on your left and space is tight, giving a bit more throttle will make you move to the right with the same steering lock. It is NOT a good idea to move the steering wheel too much, it will throw you completely out of yoru trajectory and you will pay for it at turn exit. Give some gas to move out and immediately cut again to go low, the faster guy will get through if the timing is correct.

- You might get passed on the outside at certain tracks, when the banking is steep. In that case, be sure to get even closer to the inside of the turn, but do not change lanes.

- If you are slow in a straight and a car approaches fast, do not move, hold straight and he will avoid you. The best drivers anticipate a lot and will see you and make evident the side they intend to pass, but keeping on straight line will never work bad. It is the overtaking car’s duty to do it safely.

STRATEGY:

- Engines have different fuel consumption characteristics, but there isn't always much to gain from running more boost. Running lower boost and lower fuel load will pay off over a whole race as it makes the tires life easier. But your driving will also do a lot, it is easy to cook the front right.

- In the first laps there will be the most accidents during starts and restarts, which clears the field. The middle part of the race when cars are more spread apart is the safest. Finally, when drivers are tired or trying to get position towards the end, you can get some more yellow flags.

- Real teams usually pit under yellow when they have less than 1/2 tank of fuel. Otherwise they prefer to stay out for track position. Consider the guy in front and behind you when deciding what to do. If you are behind a slow but difficult to pass guy, it might pay off to pit for fuel.

- You can opt to change only right side tires on pitstops. It is faster and sometimes the left side ones will take a second stint, specially if it is a short one to the chequered flag.

Now let's see how much I can make a fool of myself by doing wrong what I wrote and adviced against :rigol:

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Last edited by Alberto Ibañez on Fri 6 Feb 2015 - 23:43; edited 1 time in total
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Alberto Ibañez
Racing Legend
Alberto Ibañez


Number of posts : 16788
Age : 119
Location : International Simracing Organisation
Registration date : 2010-09-17

Oval racing tips/advices/technical Empty
PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSat 24 Jan 2015 - 9:43

***** Post reserved for the french version *****

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Carl Larrad
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Carl Larrad


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Registration date : 2008-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSat 24 Jan 2015 - 9:59

Wow Alberto that's a very informative read well done for making it much easier to understand should be of great help :clap:

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Vincent Beretta
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Vincent Beretta


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Age : 44
Location : France
Registration date : 2008-12-15

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PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSat 24 Jan 2015 - 10:26

:top: Thx Alberto study

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Jacob Fredriksson
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Jacob Fredriksson


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PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSat 24 Jan 2015 - 12:13

Any tips on a HUD plugin?

And BTW, throttle control is very important at a place like Homestead! In my opinion of course. If you can control a powerslide there, good for you!

Learning the track might be easier on an oval, but conquering the place is always just as hard!
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Austin Johnson
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Austin Johnson


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Location : Northern California
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PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSat 24 Jan 2015 - 18:34

Alberto that is a fantastic write up.. :top:

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Arturo Pereira
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Location : Buenos Aires, Argentina
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PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSat 24 Jan 2015 - 18:47

Thank you Alberto!! Quite useful information!
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Greg Hunt
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Greg Hunt


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Location : HOSSEGOR
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PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSun 25 Jan 2015 - 19:18

Alberto Ibañez wrote:
***** Post reserved for the french version *****

la version francaise c est apres la course ? scratch study :D :D :D :D :D

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Mike Becnel
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Mike Becnel


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PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSun 25 Jan 2015 - 19:25

Jacob Fredriksson wrote:
Any tips on a HUD plugin?

And BTW, throttle control is very important at a place like Homestead! In my opinion of course. If you can control a powerslide there, good for you!

Learning the track might be easier on an oval, but conquering the place is always just as hard!

GID. You can customize it. Mine looks like a science project when running full load.

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Martin Audran
League Owner
Martin Audran


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Age : 36
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Registration date : 2008-09-08

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PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSun 25 Jan 2015 - 19:28

Greg Goissen wrote:
Alberto Ibañez wrote:
***** Post reserved for the french version *****

la version francaise c est apres la course ?  scratch study :D :D :D :D :D

Désolé mais oui, t'as vu la longueur du post Shocked Pas eu le temps ce week-end Wink

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Alberto Ibañez
Racing Legend
Alberto Ibañez


Number of posts : 16788
Age : 119
Location : International Simracing Organisation
Registration date : 2010-09-17

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PostSubject: Re: Oval racing tips/advices/technical   Oval racing tips/advices/technical Icon_minitimeSun 25 Jan 2015 - 20:04

Quote :
la version francaise c est apres la course ?

Come on Greg you don't need that anymore :yaa:

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