Automobilista - How to Set Your Car Up!


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Greetings fellow racers! As you begin to become more competent and faster SimRacers, the more important the car setup options become. This is because as you get quicker, the harder it becomes to find time gains. This is known as the Law of Diminishing Returns. The default setup can only get you so far, before you need to start tweaking things to go even quicker!

This is by no means a guarantee that you will become magically quicker after reading this, but you should hopefully be better equipped with the knowledge to confidently change the handling characteristics of your car in a way that will not only suit your driving style, but make you a better driver!

This guide assumes that you already possess the skills to operate the car in a competent manner. If you do not have the skill set to manage this, I would highly recommend our Premium Driver Academy as it will give you the very basics of racing, shaving huge amounts of time off your lap times. Or you can check out the awesome new Rookie series of club races we're offering!

I'd also like to mention that I am by no means an expert. I am simply passing on my knowledge from 7+ years of SimRacing experience :)

So, without further ado, let's get into it!

  1. Setup Screen, Notes and Pit Information
  2. Differential and Electronic Aid settings
  3. Engine, Weight and Brake settings
  4. Aerodynamics and Gear Ratio settings
  5. Wheel and Tyre settings
  6. Suspension and Dampers
  7. Ride Height and Third Springs
  8. Anti-Roll Bars & Conclusion

Hey Check it out! This setup guide now comes in a handy PDF form :)
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The Setup Screen
In Automobilista you have two setup screens available. A basic overview of the car, featuring parameters such as fuel, tyres, gear ratios and ballast placement. The second screen is a more advanced menu with parameters such as tyre pressures, damper rates and roll-bar settings.



In this guide, I will be taking you through each parameter one by one (Top to bottom, left to right), and explaining the function and purpose of them, and how that relates to on-track behaviour. It's important to remember that not all cars will give you the option of changing certain settings as they're either restricted, or the car does not have it at all.

The notes section is one that is largely under-utilised by most players. In fact, I wasn't even aware that it did anything for several months of owning the game. But it can come in handy as clicking in the box will bring up a flashing typing cursor. Anything can be typed in, from Race strategy to on-the-fly brake bias adjustments.

Clicking on the SETUP FILES button will bring up all of your saved setups from every track. They're listed on a per-track basis, so you must click on the desired track in order to load that setup. The SAVE button is self explanatory. The FAVOURITE button will render the setup you currently have loaded on the car as the default setup, so every time you use that car at that track, it will automatically default to the favourite setup instead of the default one. Finally the DEFAULT button simply resets the current setup to default. Don't worry, you will not lose your setup provided you do not then click save with the default setup active.


These options are fairly self explanatory, but I'll do it anyway.

Starting fuel (Litres/gallons):
The amount of fuel placed in your car when you leave the garage, or start the race.
  • More fuel = more weight = slower lap times.
  • In some instances, more fuel will give greater stability and in turn reduce lap times, but this does not affect the majority of the cars.

Number of Stops: This is to plan your race strategy, should your race be long enough to require re-fuelling. Increasing this number (1-3) will open up the corresponding 1st, 2nd or 3rd options. Each one denotes the amount of fuel your pit crew will put in the car at that particular stop.

Tyre Compound:
Here you can change the compound of the tyre that is fitted to your car.
  • The general rule of thumb is that the softer compound of tyres will give you more immediate grip and a faster warm up period, but they will wear out more quickly.
  • A harder compound will be more durable, but it will provide less grip and will take longer to warm up to optimal operating temperature.
  • The track conditions are also sensitive to the compound of tyre being used. For example, the track will rubber-in more quickly when you use a softer compound tyre.
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The Differential

In basic terms, the differential is the mechanism that transfers the power and torque forces from the engine to the wheels. With most race cars in Automobilista, you will have three settings to freely adjust: Power, Coast and Preload. Differential settings can have a profound effect, both positive and negative, on your car's willingness to corner well.

  • The power setting controls the amount of differential lock when the accelerator is being applied. This means the drive-powered wheels will become "linked" either faster or slower depending on the value you set, when accelerating out of a corner.
  • A higher percentage value will result in the differential locking more quickly when power is applied. This will result in the rear (or front) wheels spinning at more similar speeds which will result in greater oversteer.
  • A lower value will allow more slippage before the wheels become "linked", which produces less oversteer. However during mid-corner partial throttle applications, you'll find the car will generally rotate more easily.
  • Setting the power too low can result in wasted engine power, while setting it too high can result in a higher chance of spinning the car on corner exit.
  • The Diff Coast setting affects the car behaviour when you are OFF the throttle.
  • This is particularly helpful during corner entry as you can adjust it to help get the car to rotate more easily, however if the coast setting is set too low, then you'll run the risk of an extremely poorly balanced car under braking and at mid-corner.
  • A higher percentage of coast = less off-throttle oversteer.
  • A lower percentage of coast = more off-throttle oversteer.
  • The differential preload affects the time taken for the differential to shift from power to coast, and coast to power.
  • A lower value = A smaller delay between differential states, which is recommended for tight and twisty tracks.

Electronic Aids

Driving aids are becoming more prevalent in modern vehicles. Things like ABS and traction control are common place. However with many race cars, electronic aids simply aren't allowed or aren't present in the first place. Series like Formula One, Formula 3 and the V8 Supercars are not permitted to use any sort of Anti-locking Brake System or Traction Control system. However F1 cars of the past did use them, and in Automobilista you have the Formula V10 (based on a 2001-era car) which has the aid of Auto-shifting and traction control as to reflect the rules of the real life Formula One from that era.

These aids can of course be turned off if you do not wish to use them, but they are only available in select vehicles in Automobilista.

Auto Shift Mode

  • A fairly simple concept. The car will either upshift or downshift at the recommended RPM automatically.
Traction Control
  • Electrically controls the amount of wheel-spin the car will allow when accelerating.
  • Whilst it is possible to be faster without traction control, it can help reduce tyre wear by enabling it as there will be less tyre slippage.
  • Used to prevent brake locking and tyre flat-spotting.
  • Often results in slightly longer braking distances, but it provides a large security blanket for those who struggle with brake application.
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Engine Settings
Look after the donkey in the back, and she'll look after you.

Rev Limit

  • Controls the maximum allowed RPM that the engine can reach.
  • Not available in all cars.
  • Higher values = greater engine wear and more fuel consumption, but depending on the car's power band, it can result in greater top-speeds.
  • Lower values = reduces engine wear and fuel consumption but can result in lower top speeds.

Radiator size

  • The radiator is the primary source of engine cooling. Most cars will channel the air through bodywork shapes and scoops in order to get maximum airflow to the radiator whilst keeping drag to a minimum.
  • A higher value will give you larger surface area that the radiator is exposed to, which will result in better cooling, but to the detriment of greater aerodynamic drag.
  • A lower value will increase the amount that the radiator is covered. This will result in higher engine, oil and water temps, but will also give you the added benefit of improve aerodynamic efficiency.
  • Finding the right balance between speed and cooling is critical, especially in tightly-packed open wheelers where every gram matters.

Brake Map

  • Brake mapping is the amount of engine braking permitted by the engine's fuel injection system.
  • Every engine has a particular resistance which slows it down, brake map applies idle throttle in order to compensate for the natural engine slow down process. Sometimes it can even make the car gain speed when idle in 1st gear.
  • With respect to vehicle handling characteristics, it can help with lift-off oversteer. It is highly useful to help the car keep the same speed throughout a corner. And it modulates engine braking as well.
  • It's important to note that very few cars actually have this setting available, so 99% of the time you won't be able to adjust it.

Boost Mapping

  • We all love a bit of boost right?! Well unfortunately at the time of writing, the boost mapping parameter is non-functional, meaning it doesn't actually change anything.
  • In cars like the Brazilian V8 Stock Car, the Boost Mapping is adjustable, but because it's been essentially turned off in the game's source code, you won't see any difference in performance when you use different values.
  • It's important to note that boost functions like "Push to Pass" are functional, however the mapping of those setup parameters are non-functional.

Weight Distribution
The distribution of weight in a race car is extremely important and is often left untouched, but with a bit of know-how and trial and error, you can find some nice little time gains as a result of toying with it. Teams will often place a ballast weight in the car to offset the chassis's inherently un-balanced nature (i.e. The engine places a huge amount of weight wherever it is located on the car, so counteracting that is important to getting the handling characteristics that you want).

Front and Rear Distribution

  • Where the weight is biased on the car's longitudinal axis.
  • It depends on the engine and chassis layout, but the general thought is that increasing the rearward bias will result in a car that rotates more easily in mid-corner situations and generally has greater traction due to a larger amount of weight being placed over the rear wheels.
  • A more forward bias will result in less oversteer and generally poorer traction, but again, this all depends on the engine placement and chassis design.

Lateral Distribution

  • In most cars this is a restricted setting, however in the few that do have it, it can be useful in situations where you're trying to create an asymmetric setup to suit a track that has a vastly disproportionate number of left hand corners or right hand corners.
  • This will move the weight either left or right along the lateral axis of the vehicle.

Steering Lock

  • Steering lock (or steering ratio) is the amount of steering angle the wheels will turn as a result of steering input from the steering wheel.
  • For example, the steering lock in the setup screen in Post #2 shows the car has a lock of 18.0, this means that for a 360 degree rotation of the steering wheel, the front wheels on the car will turn 18 degrees. To calculate that to the 'X:1' ratio results in a 20:1 ratio. Again, this means that for every 20 degrees of lock applied at the steering wheel, the front wheels will turn one degree.
  • Lower values will result in slower steering which can allow you to be more controlled, however you may struggle in chicanes and low-speed corners, as more input will be required.

Steering Rotation

  • Steering rotation is the total amount of steering lock available to you from one side of the wheel to the other.

If you're gonna race cars, you're gonna crash cars! And nothing is more important in preventing a crash than the brakes. The brakes are probably the most important part of a race car. Well, it's all important really, but the brakes are really bloody important! In series like Formula One, in many respects the deceleration forces are the most impressive part of the sport as drivers will routinely experience 6G's of deceleration under heavy braking and can go from 330 kph to 60 kph in as little as 100 metres!

Given that they're so vital, getting the balance, pressure and cooling right is of equal importance.

Brake Bias
  • Brake bias controls the percentage of braking that the front and rear brakes contribute during a braking event. In a perfect world, a 50:50 split between the front and rear will provide the shortest possible stopping distance. But! since we're clearly not in a perfect world, and because different cars exhibit different weight transfer, suspension, damper and chassis characteristics, a 50:50 brake bias is almost always sub-optimal.
  • For open wheelers, a bias of anywhere between 55-59% at the front and 45-41% at the rear is optimal. For GT cars or Touring cars, it's usually around 63-70% at the front and 37-30% at the rear.
  • More forward bias will result in understeer in the braking phase and an increased chance of locking the front wheels. This can be great for general stability, but it can make the car difficult to get turned into the corner.
  • Rearward bias will make the car exhibit greater oversteer in the braking phase which helps with turn in, at the expense of general stability.
  • It's widely considered that when comparing front locking with rear locking, front locking is the lesser of two evils.

Brake Duct Size

  • As the car goes along, the brake ducts channel the flow of air onto the brake disks and pads which cools them off.
  • Getting temperature into the brakes is very important as most racing car brakes will not function optimally if they're too cold or too hot.
  • A smaller brake duct size will result in higher brake temperatures and better aerodynamics. Be sure not to run too small a duct size else you may risk braking performance issues due to overheating or in a worst case scenario: brake failure.
  • Larger brake ducts will funnel more cold air resulting in cooler brake temperatures, reduced risk of brake failure and a more draggy, less aerodynamically efficient car. Going too large on the brake ducts and you may run the risk of not being able to get enough temperature into them.
  • Tailor your brake duct sizes to the characteristics and layout of the track you're racing on. Tracks with frequent and heavy stopping zones (I.e. Montreal) will require slightly larger ducts as the brakes will take a beating. Whereas tracks that are easy on brakes (I.e. Silverstone) require smaller ducts.

Brake Pressure (Also applies to handbrake pressure)

  • The amount of pressure exerted by the brakes as a percentage of the maximum pedal pressure.
  • Very useful with cars that are easy to lock up.
  • Higher values = shorter stopping distances, more brake heat generation, more brake wear and higher chance of locking up.
  • Lower values = longer stopping distances, less heat generation, lower wear and a reduced chance of locking up.
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You can't see it, but you sure can feel it! Aerodynamics (more specifically downforce) is the invisible force that presses your car into the ground as you go faster! That is of course assuming that the car your driving has some sort of bodywork that promotes downforce, like front and rear wings, rake angle (which we'll get into later) or just the general flow of air over the car.

Not all cars will have adjustable wings, some will have only one, and some will have both front and rear. Keeping the aerodynamic balance in check is very important in your ability to take corners quickly. However, downforce creates drag. The more drag you have, the slower you'll be on the straights. Finding the right compromise between corner speeds and straight line speeds is the crux of adjusting the wing levels.

Front Wing

  • The front wing is where all the action begins and is incredibly important in determining the airflow over the rest of the car as it's the first point of contact with the oncoming air.
  • Higher values = More wing angle = More front-end grip. This will generate greater downforce over the front of the car and press the front wheels into the ground. However it needs to be balanced with the rear wing if you want to be able to keep adding wing angle without destabilisation.
  • Lower values will obviously generate less downforce, which will induce understeer with a small increase in straight line speed.

Rear Wing

  • The rear wing is the final point of contact for the airflow, and pushes the rear end of the car into the ground.
  • Large straight line speed gains can be found by reductions in the rear wing angle. However caution must be taken as one click too extreme can result in massive destabilisation of the rear end of the car at high speed.
  • Higher values will generate understeer, greater traction at medium speeds and improved stability when changing direction. However you'll also lose top-end speed.
  • Lower values will result in higher top speeds, more oversteer and a generally less stable car.

Gear Ratios
Gearing the car for a specific track is an important part of maximising the performance. Gearing the car with ratios that are too long will result in lower top speeds as the car may bog down depending on the power and torque bands of the engine. Whereas gearing it too short will obviously see you bang into the limiter more quickly, however you will have more punchy acceleration provided there isn't too much time between gear shifts.

The general rule of thumb in an open wheeler with a largely linear power delivery curve is to have the car just short of the rev limiter as you reach the end of the longest straight on the track. This way you still have a little bit of head room should you get into someone else's slipstream.

The final drive ratio is essentially a multiplier of the total set of ratios you've configured. Increasing the final drive ratio will increase all the gear ratios by the specified amount.
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Welcome to part two, in this section we'll be focusing on the advanced setup screen in Automobilista as denoted by the little suspension arm and tyre icon in the top right of the screen.

Wheel Alignment

Camber Angle

  • Negative camber leans the top of the tyre in towards the chassis.
  • Positive camber leans the top of the tyre away from the chassis.
  • Adding negative camber to the front wheels creates greater responsiveness, grip and heat build up at the cost of increased tyre wear and possibly increased sensitivity of brake locking.
  • Camber can be used to help achieve the optimal car balance between front and rear. Adding more negative camber to the rear wheels will increase rear stability and promote understeer.
  • Adding positive camber at the rear will create a less stable rear end, but will improve traction (optimal traction is at 0 degrees of camber as the full face of the tyre is in contact with the road).
  • In most open wheel cars, the recommended window for camber angles is:
    • Front: 3.0 - 4.5 degrees of negative camber.
    • Rear: 2.0 - 3.5 degrees of negative camber.

Toe Angle

  • When observing the car from a birdseye view, the toe angle is the pointing of the front of the wheel either inwards or outwards.
  • Toe-in points the front of the wheel inwards, while Toe-out points them outward.
  • The general consensus is that the front wheels should be slightly biased for toe-out, while the rear wheels should have a small amount of toe-in.
  • Toe-out = More responsive on initial turn in, better for changing direction but also results in a loss of mid-corner grip.
  • Toe-in = Less responsive but generally more stable in a straight line and slightly more mid-corner grip, however this depends on your various other settings like suspension, roll bars and camber values.
  • Toe angles create tyre scrubbing as the tyre rotation is not flush with the vehicle's direction of travel, so running too extreme values is detrimental to top speed, tyre wear, tyre overheating and fuel consumption as the car's rolling resistance is increased.

Caster Angle

  • The caster angle is the angle at which the steering axis is tilted either forward or rearward from vertically above the wheel (Imagine a shopping trolley).
  • Caster angle is a parameter that often goes overlooked as it can be a little confusing and the vast majority of drivers have absolutely zero clue about what purpose it serves.
  • Essentially the caster angle provides a certain amount of self-centering to the steering of the vehicle, providing a more stable environment as the car is less likely to 'wander'.
  • Since the vast majority of the cars in Automobilista are racing cars, the caster angles are considered extreme when compared to road cars, this is because most race cars are designed to run with extreme caster angles in a bid to gain more camber angle during cornering, thus achieving more grip.

Tyres, Tyres and more Tyres!
Your car should be connected to the road by four little contact patches of rubber. If you have fewer than four, immediately take a pit stop, something is very wrong! In all seriousness though, the tyres are the only part of the car that connects you with the road, so ensuring they're correctly set in terms of pressure is incredibly important, in fact, with cars that have minimal setup options available, the tyre pressures will very likely be the most important setup change you make!

If a tyre is under inflated, you will experience:
  • Lower top speeds.
  • Poorer fuel economy.
  • Greater mechanical grip (larger contact patch).
  • Lower peak temperatures, and
  • In special cases where a tyre is severely deflated, you will suffer increased tyre wear due to the severe deformation of the rubber as it comes into contact with the road, but in general, slightly lower pressures will result in less tyre wear.
If a tyre is over inflated, you will experience:
  • Less rolling resistance (greater fuel economy).
  • Poorer mechanical grip (smaller contact patch).
  • Greater straight line speeds.
  • Higher temperatures.
  • Greater wear as the tyre is more inclined to slide across the surface than to bite into it.
Achieving the optimal pressures will obviously allow you to maximise the performance you can obtain from the tyre which in turn can give you "easy" gains in lap time. As a general rule of thumb, the rear tyres should be pressured slightly lower than the fronts in RWD cars as all of the load that comes with violent acceleration will require more mechanical grip, this also helps keep the rear temperatures and pressures in check.

I usually recommend running the rear tyres anywhere between 7 and 13 kPa (1 and 2 PSI) lower than the front tyres. However with different cars, you may find differing results. Some cars may perform better with massive differences in pressure between front and back in order to manipulate the balance of the car (or truck...).
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Admittedly, I am not an expert when it comes to the intricacies, calculations and physics as it pertains to suspension (or any of this stuff really), however I can at least give you an easy to understand version of "what happens when you do X?". Simply put, suspension is the most important setup change you can make when adjusting the balance of the car, whether you desire an oversteery setup, understeery setup or a neutral setup.


The suspension works in conjunction with the dampers to control the car's general ride characteristics and allows the wheels to absorb bumps and kerbs on the race track without destabilising the whole car. It influences how the car corners, starts and stops as well as how agile or sluggish it may be. Now, Automobilista deals with suspension by using Spring Rates. Spring rates refer to the quantity of force required to compress the spring 1 millimetre. So in the snippet above, you can see that this spring requires 140 Newtons of force in order to compress the spring one (1) millimetre. A higher number means that more force is required, which in turn means that your car will be stiffer.

Okay, so how does that relate to on-track behaviour, you ask? Well, stiffer suspension will make the car more rigid in terms of weight transfer, so when you're going through a corner, the car will be less inclined to flop around. Because the car is more stable, the weight placed on the tyres is more evenly distributed, so you may experience some additional understeer in the corners as the outside tyre has less load placed on it due to the reduced body roll.

The ride height will be changing less drastically, which means the aerodynamic balance will be improved which is especially important in cars with very sensitive aerodynamics. Stiffer suspension also allows you to run lower ride heights, which creates greater downforce.

In short, suspension changes will do the following:
  • Front:
    • Stiffer = More agile, greater mid-corner understeer, less "floppy" feeling, improved turn-in and higher tyre temperatures.
    • Softer = Less agile, more prone to destabilisation on fast changes of direction, greater mechanical grip and improved mid-corner grip, more oversteer.
  • Rear:
    • Stiffer = More oversteer, poorer traction, poorer mechanical grip, the car will also feel more edgy and twitchy and may reduce stability under braking and turn-in as the rear end will feel as if it's eager to swap ends.
    • Softer = Less oversteer, greater traction, greater mechanical grip, improved stability (provided you don't soften too much).
It's generally accepted that the rear suspension should be softer than the front suspension as it aids in general stability, traction and grip. However, if you are driving a car that has too much understeer, then stiffening the rear springs can be one of the best methods of remedying it. In some vehicles, the suspension geometry may require the rear to be stiffer than the front, but for the majority, the rear should be softer.

The damper system is used to dissipate the energy stored in the spring of the suspension during and after the compression and extension phases of the spring. This is to ensure that the car does not bounce too severely when going over bumps and kerbs. Essentially, dampers control the speed with which the spring can compress or extend.

Firstly, let's fill you in on some of the terminology:
  • "Bump" = Damper compression.
  • "Rebound" = Damper extension.
You'll notice that there are two kinds of Bump settings and two kinds of Rebound settings: Fast and Slow.
  • "Fast" = How the quickly the damper compresses or extends when it is hit "fast", for example when you hit a bump or a kerb in the road. This is the primary parameter in stabilising your vehicle over bumps.
  • "Slow" = How quickly the damper compresses or extends due to the weight shift of the car during acceleration, braking and cornering. This compression and extension of the damper typically happens more slowly than hitting a kerb, hence the name "slow".
Well that's nice, but how do I actually apply all that to my setup and driving style out on the track?

Slow Bump:

  • Lower front values will allow the front of the car to pitch and roll more quickly. Lowering this value may result in some increases in general grip at the expense of responsiveness (i.e. the car will be more sluggish and less willing to change direction quickly).
  • A higher number will result in a damper that requires more force to compress it at the same rate, resulting in a more responsive car and greater stability under braking as it reduces the car's tendency to 'dive', but with potentially less mid-corner grip.
  • Raising the rear slow bump value will increase the car's resistance to 'squatting' under acceleration, while lowering it will lead to better traction as the rear of the car will be able to 'squat' a little more easily.
  • Higher rear values will generally lead to poorer traction and a more snappy rear-end (oversteer). However if you're experiencing too much understeer when applying the accelerator, increasing the rear bump can be an effective way of addressing it.

Slow Rebound:

  • Rebound is the rate at which the suspension extends after being compressed. Under acceleration your front suspension will experience slow rebound as the weight transfers to the rear of the car, while under braking the rear will rebound.
  • A higher value will result in a slower extension and may leave you vulnerable to bottoming out if there are subsequent bumps on the track and the suspension does not have enough time to extend to it's normal position in order to absorb the bump.
  • A higher value in the front will give you less front-end roll in the corners but also more on-throttle oversteer.
  • Higher rear values will result in greater stability under braking as the car will be less inclined to pitch, however you may see more mid-corner oversteer as the rear is less able to roll.

Fast Bump & Rebound:

  • Same philosophy as the above bump and rebound explanations, however this applies to the suspension compressing and extending 'fast'.
  • Used to slow the compression of the spring when you hit a bump or kerb.
  • Higher values generally lead to more stability over bumps, however going too high may result in massive destabilisation such as excessive bouncing and even taking small amounts of flight.

The packers are the bump-stops that your suspension will hit when you run out of suspension travel. Think of the packers as small washers at the bottom of the suspension's piston rod; they limit the amount of total travel in the suspension. The thicker the packer, the less suspension travel you will have, which means the car will be highly restricted in absorbing any additional force once the packer has been hit.
  • Increasing the packers (cm) will mean that you will have less suspension travel available to you, so you will hit the packer sooner.
  • Adjusting packer thickness can be useful if your car has limited suspension parameters that can be adjusted (i.e. Boxer Cup) as the car can be made to be more or less responsive depending on the thickness you set your packers to.
  • Thicker packers = less suspension travel = less mid-corner grip, however it will also be less bouncy and can lead to poorer traction.
  • Thinner packers = more suspension travel = greater traction and mid-corner grip, however it will also allow for more bounce in the car behaviour which can lead to severe destabilisation.
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Ride Height
Ride hieght.jpg
The ride height is the amount of clearance between the underside of the car and road surface. In lightweight open wheeler's that produce a large amount of downforce, the ride height is incredibly crucial to the handling characteristics of the car due to the change in the Centre of Gravity (CoG) being placed higher, lower or forward or rearward. The ride height can also greatly affect the aerodynamic balance of the car

In most cases it's almost always beneficial to lower the ride height.

Lower Ride Height:
  • Pros:
    • Lowers the CoG.
    • Reduces body roll.
    • Improves the responsiveness.
    • Creates greater downforce.
  • Cons:
    • Can result in excessive bottoming out.
    • Reduces the car's tolerance to bumps and kerbs.
It's important to remember that the suspension plays a roll in controlling the ride height, so be sure to set your spring rates accordingly when raising or lowering your ride height to prevent excessive bottoming out (Lower ride = stiffer springs). The ultimate goal is to run the lowest possible ride height to achieve maximum grip from the tyres and the aerodynamics, whilst still allowing for the suspension to do it's job.

Rake Angle:

You may have noticed in Formula One over the last several years or so that cars are running with the rear end significantly higher than the front end. This is called a positive rake angle. Essentially what it does is create greater downforce without necessarily adjusting the wing angle. Or as it's referred to by Adrian Newey himself, to be a "clean" method of adding downforce whilst minimising the drag.

Since I am not so technically savvy with this sort of thing, you can read a far better explanation of Rake Angle here.

Most open wheel cars produce a lot of downforce from the floor of the car, so getting the floor to produce even more downforce via a positive rake angle without too much additional drag is simply referred to as "Free Laptime!".
  • Benefits of positive rake angle
    • Greater front-end grip due to CoG being moved forward.
    • More responsive braking as the front tyres will already be loaded slightly higher due to the change in weight distribution.
    • Greater stability on acceleration.

Third Springs
The third spring is not something that is available on every car, in fact it's only available on the vast minority of cars in Automobilista. This is because it's a somewhat specialised setup parameter and most cars simply do not utilise it, or it's restricted as per the series regulations.

The third spring has been explained brilliantly by none other than Niels Heusinkveld here at RD a few years ago, and the explanation is still completely relevant today. Essentially, the third spring comes into effect only when both of the front and/or rear traditional springs are fully compressed. This means that weight transfer like roll and yaw will not compress the third springs, but, high amounts of pitch under braking, or huge aerodynamic load, will.

Stiffening the third springs can allow you to run softer suspension for greater mechanical grip, whilst also avoiding the issue of bottoming out due to aerodynamic loading.

The parameters listed under the third spring do not have any description for them, however I assume they are the damper and ride height settings that correspond to the third spring. So from top to bottom they would be: Slow bump, slow rebound, fast bump, fast rebound and ride height (cm).
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Anti Roll Bars
The anti-roll bars (or ARB) sort of say what they do. It's on the tin label. They are anti-body roll... and they're a bar. In all seriousness, they help stabilise and reduce the amount of body roll that a vehicle may exhibit during hard cornering, such as you might be doing on a race track in Automobilista.

Similarly to the spring rates, Automobilista measures the roll resistance in Newtons per millimetre (N/mm). For example, in the screenshot of the advanced setup screen in Post #2 you can see that the front ARB is set to 100 N/mm. This means that in order for the ARB to allow 1mm of travel, it has to have at least 100 Newton's of force exerted upon it.

In cars with very low CoG, stiff ARB's are highly recommended. However it's still important to balance the front and rear else they can greatly upset the overall balance of the car.

Effects of the ARB:
  • Higher values:
    • More responsive and agile.
    • Greater understeer (if higher at front and lower at rear).
    • Greater oversteer (if higher at rear and lower at front).
    • Increased tyre wear and general heating due to increased sliding.
  • Lower values:
    • More sluggish when changing direction.
    • Will feel more 'floppy'.
    • Greater lateral weight distribution. Can lead to mechanical grip gains, but if the load sensitivity of the tyre is exceeded then you will see losses in grip due to the overall grip level of both wheels being reduced.

Remember that setting up a car can have many different solutions to one problem. There are a multitude of parameters that can be changed that will have similar results. However it's important not to get discouraged with it if things don't go according to plan. Take your time and adjust one setting at a time.

Drive the default setup for 5 laps of a track you are familiar with. Try to feel and think about every little behaviour that you can feel and see the car exhibiting. Then come back to the pits with that knowledge and adjust ONE parameter accordingly that you think might help address a particular behaviour that you do not like about the default setup. Then go back out on track and see if you can feel the difference. Is it more to your liking, or less?

Don't feel pressured to learn all of this stuff in one sitting. It may be more beneficial for you if you take your time and focus on just one section each day. Really play around with settings and see how it affects your driving and the car behaviour. Over time you may not necessarily know the physics or calculations behind these settings, but you will have a general knowledge of what to do when the car you're driving is exhibiting a particular behaviour :).

Best of luck out there!
Remember, I am not an expert, so if you have any corrections or clarifications you would like added to this guide, please tag me in the comments section below!
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  • A higher percentage value will result in the differential locking more quickly when power is applied. This will result in less oversteer.
  • A lower value will allow more slippage before the wheels become "linked", which produces more oversteer.

It is interesting to note that this usually applies without any force being given to the wheels or in extremely tight corners. During high speed turns or exits under power a more open (still LSD) is easier to control, as the outside wheels are able to provide more traction due to weight transfer, while the inside wheels struggle to get traction and upset the car as soon as they get it back (around 20% "instant" traction gain as they do so).

See the super V8 in AMS (locked diff), they are significantly harder to control the throttle input on corner exits when compared to a GT3 for example (similar power figures). Of course that scenario is only comparable in low speed corner exits, to let downforce aside.

Great work on the guide btw:)
It is interesting to note that this usually applies without any force being given to the wheels or in extremely tight corners. During high speed turns or exits under power a more open (still LSD) is easier to control, as the outside wheels are able to provide more traction due to weight transfer, while the inside wheels struggle to get traction and upset the car as soon as they get it back (around 20% "instant" traction gain as they do so).

See the super V8 in AMS (locked diff), they are significantly harder to control the throttle input on corner exits when compared to a GT3 for example (similar power figures). Of course that scenario is only comparable in low speed corner exits, to let downforce aside.

Great work on the guide btw:)
I've always felt that when driving most cars, a lower diff power setting actually feels like it's more forgiving when applying the throttle, but I've been told otherwise by people who are far more intelligent with that sort of thing :)

I always felt that a higher percentage = less slippage = both wheels spinning at closer rates = more oversteer. Lol, I was massively confused by this one for a LONG time.
I always felt that a higher percentage = less slippage = both wheels spinning at closer rates = more oversteer
It is kinda like that on high powered cars, as the oversteer is caused by the spinning of the wheels, not the natural "tendency" of the car. In racing we are pretty much always either on throttle or on the brakes, so it is, as you said, very easy to get confused by that definition:).

One video I love when I explain diffs is that one: (gives a good hint on how LSDs are affected as well)
Before I read the rest (great job by the way), I'm going to follow what Matheus said and advise you to switch "less oversteer" and "more oversteer" on the Diff Power part.

If some explanation is needed, here it goes:

An open differential (0%) is great for turns, but the downside is that whenever a wheel is in the air (or with considerably low contact), it will get all the power from the engine, meaning it will spin freely while the "grippiest" wheel will be forsaken by the diff. During a corner, the inside wheel is much less loaded than the outside one and, with an open diff, too much throttle on the exit will make the inside wheel spin freely. Which means we could be faster by putting more power down if there was a way to prevent the less loaded wheel (inside wheel) from spinning.

And this is where a Limited Slip Differential comes to save us! Due to sorcery, the LSD knows one wheel will spin faster than the other and, by brute force, it demands the faster wheel to slow down. This means that the engine can now send more power to the more loaded tyre (outside wheel). But - as everything in life - there's a catch: now, too much throttle on corner exit will overload the outside tyre, which is the most important one holding the car sideways. The moment it starts to spin, the car starts to oversteer (in a RWD car, of course).

So there we are. Too low Diff Power => possible engine power being wasted. Too high Diff Power => possible oversteer.
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