Project CARS 2 The Self Improvement Thread :) (1 Viewer)

UnstopaPaul

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Hey guys,

I've done several races with you folks through induction nights and a race night, and what's clear is that I have a long way to go in race craft and basic mechanics to truly compete. Being a "never satisfied" kinda guy and a stickler for well defined training, I'm wondering what advice you might give to a newbie to develop my skills further. Bear in mind - I'm really quite fresh to this (apparently I've done 97hrs in cars since buying PC2, which is a load for a "game", but nothing for learning to race). PC2 is the only sim I've ever had, so I'm unfamiliar with both the cars AND the tracks.

At the moment my goals are pretty straight forward, and none of them relate to final position:
  • Gain more track time through induction nights and any non-endurance, non complex race (no weather change (lol), default setup only racing
  • Stay on the track for the duration ("all white" laps"
  • Do not make people DED
  • do not become DED
  • Focus on awareness on surroundings (use mirrors, defensive braking when cars ahead are battling at corners etc)
Obvious things I can do to improve, which don't need too much spelling out:
  • More race time with real racers
  • Time learning basic racing lines and track characteristics
What I'm looking for are more "non-obvious" things, possibly those things in the "I wish I'd known/understood this earlier" category. Theory from Driver61 and even Skip Barber is great for general understanding, and I've a feeling if I wait about 3 more weeks then @Yorkie_065 will have released videos explaining nearly everything about setups and telemetry I need to know (thanks for your great work @Yorkie_065 ) but what things can I practice? (great YT video series still welcome ofc)

I'm sure many of you just hop in the car and have a natural feel for what you do, but I've never been that guy in any discipline, so I'm looking for practical tips, suggestions, and training ideas.

See you on the track,

Mostly UnstopaPaul

EDIT: Here is a summary of the most complete guides that have been referenced in this thread. If you are new to Sim Racing, I would highly recommend starting with Skip Barber and Driver61. If you are looking for setup support, I would start by watching Yorkie065's channel, then using Nighttiger's Guide as your bible.

General Racing ("Real World")
Sim Racing /PC2 Specific
 
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Andy Bonar

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If you want to be geeky about it, there’s a great book...skip barber racing school manual or something like that. I bought it a couple of years back, but unfortunately only read the first chapter, but it is supposedly highly recommended if you have the time and dedication
 

UnstopaPaul

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If you want to be geeky about it, there’s a great book...skip barber racing school manual or something like that. I bought it a couple of years back, but unfortunately only read the first chapter, but it is supposedly highly recommended if you have the time and dedication
I watched the video "Going Faster" - highly recommended and really is very clear on the why. Weirdly although its not unique, its so clearly presented you think that it is unique. I've been considering the book, which is supposed to be excellent, but well done video tutorial seems perfect for the sport :D
 
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The Wayfaerer

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also if you don't race iRacing i recommend watching the iRacing racing School video series they have on youtube, it is really helpful with driving techniques and the things they show can be easily transfered to other sims

 

Battenberg

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Aside from the obvious 'practice practice practice' (which you already know:p), here's a few things that would have helped me if I were to get amnesia and start again:
  • This book by Michael Krumm. It covers a lot of driving techniques, racing lines, some insight into pro racing.
  • For multi-class race craft, I found this youtube series very handy on how to handle stressful multi class situations.
  • For understanding car setup (as a visual learner), this youtube series finally helped me grasp how to diagnose car behaviour and how to tweak to compensate.
 

Nighttiger

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Hey Paul,

Another great series to watch is the SafeisFast series which tell alot about car handling, defending, multi class racing, mental preparation, setup and how to drive a car properly!

https://m.youtube.com/user/SAFEisFAST

Apart from that, as much track time and races that you can get!
 
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Jamesl91

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@Probationers - hope this helps!

As everyone has already said, there are plenty of guides and videos to watch to help you understand how you can improve. From personal experience, when i joined RSR i didn't really know anything about setups, I knew the basics such as down-force, camber etc. Since joining RSR i have learnt an awful lot on how to setup the car with their help. There are a few things i always do now before i start making a setup and these are things i would recommend to anyone:
  • take the stable default setup and do 5-10 laps on race fuel to understand how the car handles. This will then give you a good understanding on how the car feels, does it under steer? or overstering? these are simple to fix with a few changes.
  • doing the default setup run before you start working on a setup also gives you a lap time to aim for, so when you make a setup change ideally each time you go out on track you should beat the previous best lap. For me this makes practice more fun!
  • When setting up a car its best to understand what the track surface is like(can be done in default setup laps) if the track is bumpy you may need to run with a softer suspension, if the track is smooth like Monza then a stiff setup will help here.
  • once you have a setup your happy with and is balanced(no under-steer or over-steer) you can then really start pushing the car to its limits, exploring what the car can do and how you can use the track to increase your performance.
  • Finding the out right pace of you/car is fundamental for race performance i believe. everyone can do 50 laps at a pace they are comfortable with but this wont help them during the race as they haven't explored the boundary's. I for example, will find the absolute ragged edge where I'm on the edge of track limits, braking zones and kerbing. This i find makes it easier to race as I'm not driving at 100% constantly i drive at around 98% leaving me room to stick to the rules and be safe. This also has the advantage of knowing i can out brake someone if i need to without going off track or causing contact.
  • You have to setup the car according to the race your taking part in. For example if your taking part in an Endurance race then you need to still do the above but focus the setup more towards a setup that will look after the tire wear and fuel. this setup would be more focused on looking after the car and consistency rather than a short 20 minute race that can be about outright speed.
Race craft is a different story, This i find can only to taught to a certain level from books and explanations. A lot of race craft is done without thinking(if you have to think about it its quite often too late). I have learnt my race craft naturally with the help of watching BTCC and F1, absorbing what i see and putting it into practice. A few pointers on race craft:
  • Track knowledge is key to all race craft.
  • Using your knowledge of the track allows you to think 2-3 corners ahead, this means you can position your car in a way that gives the chasing driver limited options to overtake, and they will struggle to get past.
  • being able to read a potential situation is a useful skill, this will come with time. the more you race with us the quicker you will understand certain drivers characteristics. driving behind a driver you will notice some will be defensive, some aggressive and others who crack under pressure. These provide opportunities for overtaking.
  • Defensive drivers - you can stick to the racing line knowing they are going to be a lot slower through a corner or in the wrong position to take advantage of the track ahead.
  • Aggressive drivers can be tricky to get passed but sometimes a semi defensive approach from you can work. chances are they will spin off through a mistake of their own.
  • driver who cracks under pressure - if you know your a lot quicker but the car in front is holding you up and making it difficult to overtake, sometimes you can sit right behind them lap after lap. this will sometimes make them driver quicker than they are comfortable with and make mistakes.
  • Knowing how a driver will react is important and will allow you to race closely with them without worrying.

I hope the above information helps you improve. Joining RSR helped me improve with setup as mentioned above but also i learnt to be more consistent and pick my battles(not every overtake is necessary) Most importantly what i quickly discovered with RSR is everyone is willing to help. as i have mentioned in the "introduce yourself" thread, we have members with a wide range of experience from those who are new to sim racing and those who are seasoned veterans.

If you need any further help or guidance feel free to ask its no trouble at all! :)
 
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UnstopaPaul

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Thanks all for some great replies so far. I might revise my OP to list all the good stuff people are listing. Time for some reading :D
 
@Probationers - hope this helps!
  • doing the default setup run before you start working on a setup also gives you a lap time to aim for, so when you make a setup change ideally each time you go out on track you should beat the previous best lap. For me this makes practice more fun!
Great advice - but as a newbie, I can't actually yet run consistently enough to assess changes (unless they are really noticeable). I can't wait until I'm here, because tinkering with the setup is quite appealing!
 
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Jamesl91

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Thanks all for some great replies so far. I might revise my OP to list all the good stuff people are listing. Time for some reading :D
 

Great advice - but as a newbie, I can't actually yet run consistently enough to assess changes (unless they are really noticeable). I can't wait until I'm here, because tinkering with the setup is quite appealing!
like i said above if you ever need help all you need to do is ask, whether its driving advice or setup advice we are happy to help and guide you
 

Jonno

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Before you start tinkering with any car i would sugest you are comfortable in the car. This all starts with were you are sat be it a rig or at a desk. Ensure you have a comfy seat. 2nd make sure you FOV is set correct for you and then adjust the view to your liking. Remove things off the hud that are going to distract you. Then pick a wepon of choice and do some laps do as many as you can to get a feel for the car only then can you start tinkering. Only change one thing at a time or youll forget were you were and have to start all over again. Jump on ts theres allways people with knowlage on and if not add em on steam they wont mind. As james has said we are al here to help others out unless your one of the aliens then you can forget it lol.
 

Taorminator

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I consider myself a beginner as I started Sim Racing like a year ago or so. For me there are a few things that I notice have improved my driving :
  • Practice (a lot) obviously and don't rush things to improve your pace as you will most likely catch bad habits that will be hard to unlearn (true story for me). Setting up the car to counter your driving mistakes is one
  • Discipline : try to create a practice routine that helps you assess your driving. Be mindful of your focus level, you won't do any progress if you don't. Take some time to review your driving PCars profiler and replays can help you for that
  • Be mindful of your driving inputs. Listen to the force feedback and react to it, don't overcorrect or fight it. Only when you have good confidence you might be able to anticipate. For me pedals input are much more difficult to master. Practice practice and try to build a muscle memory. Be aware of the effect of your inputs on mass transfer
  • Knowledge is key. Know the track and car. Look for guides on YT like the ones from Driver61
  • Practice vision and anticipate the race in front of you, if you are caught in trouble it is because you were there in the first place (this I still have to work ^^)
  • Come say hi on TS there might be good drivers doing group testing and they will gladly advise you if you ask for it. It also helps you benchmark your driving but don't be upset if you are seconds off the pace, take the opportunity to learn
  • Keep going to induction and don't hesitate to ask the stewards to practice race craft
  • Choose a view you are comfortable with. FOV is important. Depending on your preference choose good surrounding awareness or correct perspectives. Your choice
  • Don't be that guy and don't try to be an alien right away. Focus on reaching your full potential and remain humble and honest to yourself so you keep improving continouously
All the best mate and keep up the good spirit! (This you have for sure :) )
 

Taorminator

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Oh and something that works quite well for me is to enter "brain shutdown" state of mind :p it happens when I'm really confident and feel exactly what I have to do without thinking, driving nearly on muscle memory only. It helps me with consistency and provide me with a state of calm that I really enjoy :)

Ok this is becoming a bit spiritual eh? :D
 

Nighttiger

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And for the setup beginners, currently I am working on a easy step by step car setup guide for project cars 2 for beginners which is not too in depth where settings are explained and suggestions for what settings to change. A rough draft is currently finished and being tested on track and being checked for incorrect information. Not only does it explain stuff but it will help you were to start and what to do next. The ETA is yet unknown but I hope halfway February and I want to make a nice layout, because that makes the reading a lot easier. You'll see it when it is done
 
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UnstopaPaul

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Oh and something that works quite well for me is to enter "brain shutdown" state of mind :p it happens when I'm really confident and feel exactly what I have to do without thinking, driving nearly on muscle memory only. It helps me with consistency and provide me with a state of calm that I really enjoy :)

Ok this is becoming a bit spiritual eh? :D
naw you're spot on - what you are describing is called "internalisation". It's when you have practiced a skill enough that it moves from frontal to parietal lobes of the brain. I.e you are move from concentrating on how to do something to what you want to do.
 

t0daY

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naw you're spot on - what you are describing is called "internalisation". It's when you have practiced a skill enough that it moves from frontal to parietal lobes of the brain. I.e you are move from concentrating on how to do something to what you want to do.
That usually happens in the middle of the night at a 24 hour race in iRacing. But more to the fact that the brain is sleeping than anything else :D
 

SBart_uk

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I would say the most important thing to do is not let yourself fall into that trap of only using the default setups. This will slow down your improvement drastically. As you'll spend all your time trying to learn to drive around the understeer on the defaults.

If you want to get better you need to be driving a car that responds how you like. Now as this is your first sim you will need to experiment a bit. But the most important thing to do first is try different steering ratios and find what feels comfortable for you then try to drive with it a bit faster(lower values) than what is comfortable and you'll get used to it.

Slower Steering = Slower Corrections = Slower Times.

Eventually you want to be doing most of the steering with your feet and mainly using the wheel for corrections

The best way to learn is to get hold of fast setups(ones where the top 5 are seperated by less than a second) from the time trial screen and compare them to the defaults after driving both. Then make some crazy ones of your own with extreme values and just have some fun with it. You will develop an understanding quicker than you think.

Also I'm doing my setup stream on Sunday around 2pm UK time. I'll be taking requests to setup car & track combos from scratch then trying to beat the WR and answering questions. But I'm finding it hard to get anyone to make a request lol. So if there's something you'd like to see my entire setup process on please suggest it. :)

Edit : I just remembered another little trick I try to do sometimes when i'm struggling is try to simulate the forces in your head. If you're messing with suspension stiffness or dampers you can sort of imagine/visualise how this will affect the car under braking or acceleration and this used to help me a lot while I was learning
 
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UnstopaPaul

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Also I'm doing my setup stream on Sunday around 2pm UK time. I'll be taking requests to setup car & track combos from scratch then trying to beat the WR and answering questions. But I'm finding it hard to get anyone to make a request lol. So if there's something you'd like to see my entire setup process on please suggest it. :)
You're hired ;)
 

The Breeze

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Be aware of the learning curve... might be frustrating sometimes... but once you hit a peak the fun returns.
Sometimes I practise for hours, days, weeks ...without any progress... and suddenly I am 1.2 seconds faster.
learning-curve.jpg


I started about a year ago with sim racing. What helped me is picking a favourite (challenging) track (Spa Francorchamps for me) and car and practise, practise, practise... (next to watching youtube, reading books and forums).

This way you have a reference to see whether you are improving or not.

Some tips:
1. you have driving line theories, but there is no such thing as 'the' ideal driving line. The ideal driving line depends on the car and setup, track conditions, your preferences, driving style and driving skills, et cetera
2. 'you win the race on the straights, so make sure you get the apex right'(earlier or later) so you can maximize acceleration out of the corner a.s.a.p. This means that sometimes you will have to enter a corner slower
3. If you do the same thing over and over again, trying harder and harder, without any result... it might be that you are doing something wrong (but not always ;-))... sometimes it only takes some small adjustments in your cornering or braking... check some youtube again... but you might only notice these small differences once more experienced
4. Learning new tracks is a great and fun ....but sometimes exhausting... experience. Sign up for RSR races so you will be motivated to learn the track. After my first season I didn't touch my wheel for weeks..... but the fun is back again
5. At the start of races, take it easy and be safe... crashes happen often at the start of the race and you don't want to be part of that

I'm still improving my driving skills... cornering, (trail)braking, down-shifting, et cetera... and still getting faster and faster... although the progress is less than in the beginning. Racing against others is a different game because you will have to move from your ideal racing line to attack and defend... and you will have to adapt your racing line, braking point, apex... in fact you are completely lost in the beginning ;-)
 

UnstopaPaul

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@The Breeze great advice. Reasonably familiar with the learning curve - In a past life I fenced for my country, so this resonates a lot - it got to the point when you would celebrate when you had a terrible week of "not being able to do anything", because you knew that meant your brain was internalising the learning.

I probably do need to focus my efforts on the key corners (those that lead into the longest straights), improving these I assume delivers the best returns

I love having the RSR planned races - it's exactly how I'm learning new cars and tracks (the earlier the race is put up the better for me, as I have furthest to climb - thanks admins for putting up the entire of Feb :)). This is the best motivator I have for focused learning (rather than playing turn-one-car-murder on public lobby).

Looking back on some of my race mistakes, they mostly happen not because I had to swerve to avoid as much as a minor line change to ensure I didn't get near someone else getting off line ahead. This gets me off line, and shifts the car weight to somewhere unexpected. It seems to be this that leads to me going off most (and looking stupid as I crash miles away from anything that might appear dangerous).

Question:How do others tackle this? Do you practice "off line" when preparing for a track?


I would assume over time that my "trained" reactions will become better and I will not throw the weight around so much. I try to do a few races with the AI so I can see what off-line feels like, but it's really not the same.
 
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