These are old articles
for previous models of iRacing cars that may have changes significantly. This
was all designed for a TNT Racing app in 2015, but is now free to the public as
a general guide. Some links may be broken and can no longer be updated.
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FW31 Tips & Techniques
The FW31 (F1) is the premier road vehicle on the iRacing service and road-racing in general. It is tough to master with absolute precision required in every phase to achieve mastery. The following includes techniques from some of the fastest drivers on the iRacing service on how to get the most out of the car with driving techniques, setup advice, track etiquette, and a detailed telemetry discussion. TNT-Racing.com is happy to provide a complimentary “Ask TNT,” designed to answer all of your questions should you have any remaining following this guide. Use the chat function in the app to ask any questions you like. In addition, TNT-Racing.com offers instructional on-track sessions at the rate of $25/hr to anyone desiring to get hands-on experience while being provided top-level instruction. Rates are charged pro-rata to accommodate time constraints (Ex: $12.50 for 30 mins). TNT-Racing.com also offers a promotional rate for Allen Berg Racing Schools which can be found at TNT-Racing.com/ABRS.aspx. The promotional rate gives 10% off the Racing School which is run by former Formula 1 driver Allen Berg. Finally, TNT Racing is sponsored by GTR Simulator which offers 30% off any products using coupon code tnt30d5c.
The F1 is the most difficult car to drive, setup, and figure with telemetry. The perfect lap in the F1 is one that is on the very edge of traction, has perfect braking zone transitions, ensures apexes are hit, and is very-much smooth with the throttle. To find the edge requires many seasons of practice, though this guide will lead you in the right direction with tips that will hopefully help you see the edge of performance and supply you with the tools to set the car up right. There is slight repetition of concepts learned from the Skip Barber Tips & Techniques guide which are still highly relevant.
Finding the Edge
Getting to the edge is far more complicated in this mighty machine than any other you will find. Maintaining the edge throughout a corner is quite difficult. Imagine you have a baking sheet with a marble centered on the sheet. When you turn right, the marble will go to the left side of the pan and ride the left side for as long as you have lateral forces acting in that direction. There is a maximum lateral force limit available based on aerodynamic and mechanical grip factors. When you accelerate or brake, those forces go backward and forward respectively. Maximum braking simply means that you are at the maximum available positive/forward G-force based on limitations of the tire as it contacts the racing surface. This G-force decreases as the car slows down to cornering speed based again on the level of grip available in the car. When you accelerate, the car’s G-force rearward is a function of how much power you can get from the engine transferred to the tires to propel you forward. Spinning the tires or accelerating using other than full-throttle reduces rearward G. Now, back to the baking sheet. If you are at speed, about to enter a right-turn, the marble should be centered at the rear edge of the pan as you continue to accelerate. As you start braking, the marble should propel forward to contact the front. When you begin your right-turn, the marble will transition from center-front to left-front and the objective is to use a quick and smooth transition for that marble from center-front to left-front as you conduct corner entry without overcooking the driving line or entry speed parameters. The weight transfer from slight weight bias on the rear down the straight to heavy left-front weight entering the corner must be smooth and deliberate. Here’s a quick snapshot of a telemetry diagram which shows forward and lateral G with braking, wheel-turn, and speed. This may be on little use at this point, but the idea is to understand the relationship between what the driver is doing and what the car is able to do.
The underlying objective is to smoothly manage car weights to maximize traction and cornering velocity. In the telemetry diagram, note that the maximum achieved forward G is around 4G's forward. The G’s reduce as the car slows down due to the lack of aerodynamic downforce provided as speed slows down. There is a quick peak, but then the slow reduction in forward G follows. Once the turn-in begins, forward G is further reduced and lateral G begins to show. There is a certain level of available forward and lateral G available which cannot be simply added together. They must work in tandem to be on the edge of available grip. The magic number available (i.e. the number to shoot for) changes from corner to corner based on corner radius, speed, and available grip in the tires (which changes as the tire heats or cools). The relationship into the corner, as far as transfer of weight and G-forces, must be understood fully and is transferable to middle and corner exit as the marble flows from left-front, to the left edge in the corner, and finally to the left-rear off the corner. This is but a snapshot of the multiple focus areas when racing the F1.