The basic philosophy is to get all 4 tires to equally absorb the weight of the car during a lap around the track, then the amount of wear is therefore reduced for those tires that are normally over-stressed during the race. While it is impossible to get a fast running car with all 4 tires acquiring equal temperatures, reducing the amount of abrasion the right side tires get during a fuel run might allow you to turn consistently faster laps for a longer period of time.
To achieve this requires patience and discipline as over-driving the car will not only reduce the life-span of the tires, but affect the lap times turned through-out a run. When testing or practicing, run laps that you would run during a race and not a qualifying lap or a single fast lap. Your goal should not be on the top of the speed chart for the session.
Remember that testing is a preparation for racing.
In summary, test long runs, at least do half a tank runs when time doesn’t permit. Run consistent laps, trying to conserve the tires while achieving fast times.
Make a chart of the tire temps and the calculations listed below as well as tire pressure and shock settings for each tire.
1. Before using the tire temps for chassis setup, adjust tire pressure and camber so that the temps on the inside, middle and outside of each tire are almost identical after 5-10 laps of full race speed. This insures that the camber and tire pressures will be close to correct leaving only suspension adjustments remaining for setting up the chassis.
2. Increase the air pressure in each tire during this phase of testing to provide less friction and more speed. Stop adding pressure when a tire shows a higher temp in the center of the tire
3. Using tire temps for assisting chassis setup, put at least 5-10 laps at full race speed on tires before taking any temperatures
4. When you have sufficiently warmed the tires to take temperatures, stop the car on pit road (do not brake too hard)
5. Once you have the tire temps after a testing session, average of the three temps on the tire and assign a value to each tire
After calculating the average temp for each tire, take those values and derive the following average values:
• Average of both left side tires
• Average of both right side tires
• Average of both front tires
• Average of both rear tires
• Average of each diagonal (LF + RR, RF + LR)
a) If average temperature of one tire is higher than the average of all the other tires, then that one tire is working too hard and needs to have the static-weight load reduced for that tire
b) If the average temp of one tire is lower than the other tires, then that tire is not working hard enough and needs the static-weight increased for that tire
The calculations taken in step 5 above are necessary for assessing the following:
a) Hotter end is losing traction – if one end of the car produces hotter temps than the other end
• Pushing – the average temp of the front tires is hotter than the average temp of the rear tires
• Loose – the average of the rear tires is hotter than the average of the front tires
b) Outside Temps vs Inside Temps – more static-weight load needs to be placed upon the cooler tires
This can be achieved by:
• Adjusting the left/right weight placement
• Stiffening the shocks on the cooler side of the car or
• Softening the shocks on the hotter side of the car
c) Diagonal average tire temps – can be a clue to any wedge adjustments that may be necessary to equalize weight distribution.
• Wedge adjustments affect the weight diagonally (e.g. RF and LR) and can help an ill-handling car in a major way with just a 5 lb. adjustment
• Removing a “round” of wedge can reduce the load on the RF and LR tires while not noticeably affecting the other two tires
• Be warned, the wedge adjustment can take everything you have already done and make it useless, so only adjust the wedge as a fine tuning process
This is a long and tedious process that can take a lot of time (and patience). In the end, it will not only help you obtain a faster setup, but will also give you further insight into making small changes to tire pressures and wedge adjustments during a race in a pit stop situation. The knowledge you gain can end up being more valuable than any setup you produce.
The one thing that plagues a lot of drivers is when you have a setup that runs great at 70 degrees, but if the race is using random weather settings and ends up at either 10 or more degrees higher or lower than your setup’s optimal running temperature use the following:
To make a change in a limited amount of practice time before a race is this:
• Cooler temperature – the setup tends to loosen up, or oversteer.
• Hotter temperature – the setup tends to tighten up, or understeers.
Having a copy of “The Oval_Setup_MatrixV4 & Oval Spring & Shock Tuning Chart Guides” are very helpful for situations such as these.
Making small adjustments to one shock and/or moving the front/rear weight usually alleviates the major problems. If you still can’t dial it in before qualifying starts, just try and stabilize the setup so that it is very drivable during the race and you won’t be responsible for any accidents due to an ill-handling car. Tough it out, make small adjustments during pit stops and just try and stay out of trouble.
The ultimate goal is a setup that will not only give you faster lap times, but will also produce those lap times for a longer duration due to lack of tire wear. Don’t push the car to try and catch the guy that can run faster than you, wait for his tires to go away and then you will be faster!