I often get asked for setup help while at the track. I’m sure most guys that are considered “factory” guys do. I will be the first one to tell you that I in NO way consider myself a “Pro” driver. Sure I get to work in the industry but there’s likely not going to be chance of me being in the A-main of the ROAR Nats anytime soon, at least in the premier modified classes.
That being said having a background in 1:1 cars, listening to the experts in our industry, and having my own questions answered by them I’ve managed to get some idea how to setup my own cars, and help others. So let me share some tips and give some insight to setting up cars, and helping others do the same.
If you’ve ever asked me a question about setup you know that the first thing out of my mouth isn’t likely an answer, but a question. Why is this? Well because often time’s people may not realize that there are multiple answers. So I ask for clarification. Example:
Guy: “My car spins out in the corners, what should I do setup wise?”
Me: “Where in the corner? Going in? In the middle? Coming out of the corner?”
See my point? If you’re having an issue like this yourself start considering what’s actually going on. Is the car loose going in? Loose coming out? Slow in the corner? Get specific here. I may suggest a camber link change, or anti squat change, ball stud washers, shock location change, drag brake setting, driving correction, etc. etc. There are many adjustments on the cars today and as with any “correct” adjustment there’s bound to be give and take. You may get your car to stop spinning out but now it doesn’t jump as good as before, or now it’s tipping too far in the high speed sweeper turn…. See what I mean?
Another issue I come across is guys unwilling to try changes outside of the “Pro” guys setups. I don’t know about you but I don’t drive like any of the Ryan’s, Ty’s, Dakotas, or likely any of the top pro drivers for that matter. They often have cars that you and I would find nervous to drive, steering that only they are accustomed to, etc. Now I’m not saying don’t use their setups, farm from it actually. But remember they setup the car for them to drive, not you. I often start with their setups and fine tune them for me, after all I have to drive the car right?! So don’t be afraid to move your camber links a bit, add/remove some ball stud washers, move your shocks around, etc.
I have been fortunate to work with some of the best drivers in the world on various surfaces. And what I can tell you about all of them is that they will all tune their cars to be as fast as possible, as consistent as possible, and as often as possible. If they have the time they will continuously tune their cars to find those .01 of a second, to make that car as consistently fast as they can. Do you think they are chasing a “Hero” lap amongst their pears? No. They’re looking to make their car so good to drive that for them, no thought is required to place their car on any given inch on the track, at any time. When the car feels like this, it will feel slow mentally but the lap times are blazing quick. If you’ve driven your own car when it feels like this, I can tell you from personal experience that there’s nothing like it.
So Tune, Test, Practice, and try new things. Who knows, you may find the next “Pro” setup at your local track.