Summer is upon us, bringing up the temperatures both on the track and in our cars. Monitoring your temps can sometimes be the difference between having that little extra speed and being parked with a blown motor.
So this week we will talk about a couple of different ways you can get a little extra speed by being more aggressive with tape and gear ratio. We will talk about the car temps and when to start being concerned. We will discuss qualifying setups vs. race setups and start to do a little fine tuning to help our car run fast and stable while not pushing the temps beyond the motor’s limits.
Pocono’s stock setup has one major flaw that makes it perfect for this week’s discussion: The gear ratio will really pull you down if you try and run it without adjustment this week. Starting at a ratio of 3.80 the setup takes too much time to reach its optimal operating range, therefore slowing the car.
You will want to be careful as the higher your ratio the hotter your car is going to run (especially the oil). Optimal operating temperature is somewhere around 125*C for oil and 120*C for water. Damage starts to occur round 140-145*oil and 130-140* water. I set my warning lights to blink at 135 for oil and 130 for water and try to tune my temps to run just under the warnings. This way if my warning lights are blinking I know I am not damaging the car, but need to keep an eye out in the case I need to remove some tape on the next stop.
For this week I noticed that we had a good deal of room in the temperatures, so rather than load a bunch of tape over the grill to bring them up, I felt we may be better served by running a higher gear and adjusting the tape after testing.
My suspicions were immediately verified as I picked-up a half second on the first two laps after changing my gear to a 3.90 instead of the gear recommended. The temps were stable and I even had room to add some tape.
Here is where you want to run some extended practices (30-40 laps) to make sure that once you are up to speed and in traffic you do not start to overheat. If you find yourself running a bit hot try taking-off a bit of tape. You will want the gear ratio to stay the same so you can retain some torque exiting the turns.
For Pocono I find it best to adjust the setup for the final turn rather than trying to tune the car for the track as a whole. The first two turns are nothing alike and since most time cornering is in the last turn I try to get my setup to negotiate that corner the best. This will also allow me to get a good run coming off the last turn and entering the straight where gaining speed quickly is critical. Our gear change will also help provide a little extra torque for this purpose.
“I find it best to adjust the setup for the final turn rather than trying to tune the car for the track as a whole.”
Another little tip for tracks like Pocono with flatter corners is running a few more pounds in the springs on the right side to counter the body roll and keep the car perpendicular to the track. The g-forces created in the turns instigates a bit more body roll than we are looking for and can make the car unstable and snap loose unpredictably, even where you don’t feel yourself losing the rear end.
Run a 30 to 40 lap practice session and note the tire temperatures. You may decide to be more aggressive (or conservative) with your camber depending on your tire temps. You may also want to make a small caster adjustment to get the car to rotate the final turn in a way that is comfortable for your preferred line.
If you find yourself too loose don’t forget that you can make a track bar adjustment to help or, if like me, you find it’s just a tad loose, try an extra pound in the left rear. I’m making my setup available on the NiS Open Garage forum for you to use sim racing this weekend or adjust to your liking.
Good Luck and God Speed!