With the way the tires on the Dallara IndyCar act at cold temperatures, the car is quite difficult to drive until the front tires gain enough heat to stop the car from snapping loose. Because of this, the first two or three laps of a stint at New Hampshire mandate that competitors drive with caution. If you can set-up your car comfortably enough to gain some time on these opening laps, this could make up for a slower setup later on that would get too tight. At the start of each stint, you should definitely be running -20 Weight Jacker, to keep the car as tight as possible. What this does is drop the car’s right rear’s ride height down.  On the high banked ovals, we tend to try and keep the front ride heights higher than the rear; this is mostly to keep the rear wing out of the air, and also to give the front end the stability it needs to hold those full throttle speeds. At a relatively flat track like New Hampshire, it’s the complete opposite. Generally, we will be keeping the front ride height very low and the rear ride height a bit higher than normal.

The front right spring is quite stiff as well.  This helps keep the car from bottoming out with the low ride heights and also keeps the aerodynamic flow over the car consistent. The left front ride height is a bit higher than the right front, but the suspension is a bit softer. Because of this there is actually a negative cross weight on the left front tire. This would be the equivalent of running wedge for a right-handed oval. The reason for this is to keep the car stable enough on the opening few laps so that it can simply get around the track, and to help this out even more I would run your ballast all the way forward, and run a very stiff front ARB (thickness, preload, and ARMS). Just for a tip, keep the front spring rates between 2000 and 3000, and the front ride heights between 0.5-0.75. This should give you a pretty good idea of what needs to go into the front of the car. A final word of advice though: run your cambers so that the tire wears evenly. Temperatures don’t mean much here as long as you are using all of your tread; this will help significantly at the end of a run when your pace falls off. Also, the higher you raise the left front ride height the more stable the set should be at the start of the run, but the more it will fall off towards the end.

To finish first one must first finish.

At the rear of the car, we are running our toe values so as to keep the wheels pointed towards the inside of the track: negative on the left and positive on the right. Run these at your own comfort.  Some people prefer more than others and it will help you in different areas of the corner, or make your car less stable in other areas. In order to keep the cross weight manageable for the first few laps at the start, we need to run our left rear spring rate quite a bit higher than the right side. Keep these in the 1000-2000 range. The rear ride height should be just a bit higher than two inches. You probably want to run no rear anti-roll bar; this will keep the car much more stable. You should definitely aim to have just under -200 cross weight, but that is personal preference.

For tyres, you can expect to run the highest pressures available as usual. As for aero, you will want to run minimal rear wing and then work the front as low as possible for your preference. Lower front wing will help at the start, but the long run won’t be as good. You probably will want to run a pretty good amount of front and underside aero, but remember that more pieces can hurt you in the long run. However, because of the short track you can expect to need a good amount of aero. If you set both ride heights for speed at 1.000, then you should expect around 43-44% front aero balance to be a good starting point. Remember that, for the race, most drivers will run the high line. Remember also that the starts are slick and starting in second gear is a good idea. Also, you should expect to use gears 4, 5, 6 with regularity and must be patient in order to have any chance at finishing the race. To win, one must first finish. Flat tracks such as Milwaukee, New Hampshire and Richmond all use relatively similar setups. If you have a solid base for one, odds are it will work here as well. These tracks are generally a ton of fun to drive once you get around the first few laps; they are actually probably my favorite types of tracks, but I am not necessarily very quick around them. Hopefully we can get a few more sim-racers out on track and get some official races going.

 

 

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