Thanks to Dario Frattini for this excellent post.
Recently I’ve seen many threads popping up asking tips on how to drive the Skippy. Many good advice has been given but i wonder if it wouldn’t be better to have all the info in a single thread. Then maybe Shannon (Shannon? SHANNOOON!) can make it a sticky
As the thread grows I also want to post replays of smooth laps done with a very stable base setup, to give newbies a better starting point than your classic alienish hot lap.
As was said many times, your aim when choosing a setup should be 95% to have something YOU can drive. While it’s true that you can’t do World Records with the baseline setup, it’s also true that you won’t find any speed in a WR setup if you are not already up to a decent speed. If you are 3 seconds off the pace, using a very fast setup will do nothing but making it harder to drive, hence more frustrating and, as a result, making the learning curve a lot steeper.
As a general consensus, optimal tyre pressures are within the 21-24 PSI range. Pressures are probably the most effective way to change the behaviour of the car. A lower pressures means more grip but slightly lower top speed.
Rookie tip: start with high front pressures. 27 in the front and 23 in the rear is a good starting point. Start going down gradually after you get comfortable and start feeling you’re lacking grip at the front.
Perch (not tested properly yet)
What perch does is altering both the front ride height and the camber of the tires. In general, less perch means the front is higher, reducing rake (so theoretically allowing for higher top speed); higher perch makes the front lower, increasing front grip. It also means you might have a hard time over certain curbs.
A lower value will make the rear end more stable.
Rookie tip: start with 1, then go up when you feel comfortable.
This all sounds cool, but there is so little time to be gained by tinkering with the setup that it’s much more important to just have something you can drive.
Remember: there is not a fastest setup. What a correct setup can do is allow you to do something (like holding a 4-wheel drift, or just getting on the throttle earlier) that a tight setup won’t. If you are not able to do that in the first place, a ‘better’ setup is completely useless.
The Skippy is a car that can teach you a lot about driving techniques. You will learn how to drive and correct the car’s behaviour with the steering, the throttle and the brakes. You will learn how to keep momentum, how to properly shift the weight balance of the car. How to trail brake, to some extent.
What should I focus on at the beginning? DON’T PUSH!
Driving balls to the wall is not the way to go if you’re new to the car. I repeat: driving balls to the wall is not the way to go. What else? driving balls to the wall is not the way to go.
I hope you understood by now that driving balls to the wall is not the way to go? You should have, because driving balls to the wall is not the way to go.
This comes from someone who started by going balls to the wall.
So, what you should focus on. You probably have already heard this from other sources, because it’s true: smooth inputs, early throttle application, and hit those freakin apexes. Want a quick demonstration? Go drive at Watkins Glen, first turn: brake late, deep, throw the car in and fight it with the steering on the way out. Press TAB to bring out the splits time, go back to turn one, brake one or two car lenghts earlier, get on the throttle before you hit the inside curb and let the car slide on its own over the outside curb, then watch the bar above your head turning green as soon as you hit the esses. Then, my first tip is to simply brake earlier. This way, you can find the best line through the turn which, in most of the cases, is the one that makes you carry the most speed out of it.
Braking earlier also helps a lot in hitting the apex more frequently. That’s quite logic, if you don’t outbrake yourself it’s going to be a lot easier to keep the car on the right line, don’t you think?
Then… When to turn in? this problem is heavily related to when to get on the throttle: If you turn in too early you will still be turning heavily at the apex so you won’t be able to get on the throttle as much as you should. If you turn in too late you will probably miss the apex, or leave too much unused road off the turn. There is no precise tip on when to turn, unless you find a marker for it; just note that on most turns you should be close to full throttle at or before the apex, and the car should basically drive to the outside curb on it’s own. Also note that the tighter the setup, the later you will be able to get fully on the throttle.
Smooth inputs are also a key part. You shouldn’t get off the brakes abruptly, for a starter. Remember that with your brake pedal you’re not only slowing down the car, but also controlling the weight transfers. The smoother you are, the less the weight transfer, the more stable the car.
Last tip is to use all the track. You should really try to make the turns as straight as possible. The iRacing Driving School explains this perfectly.
These are the basic principles of driving. You can get within a second of the World Records by following these tips, and you don’t even need to use a loose setup. The attached one is more than enough.
So, what’s next?
Ok, so you’re finally gotten good enough that you’re feeling a bit limited by the setup and you’ve started to loosen it up. What to do next to get even more speed? The easy answer i came up with is working on car control. More car control = more confidence in going near the limit. That is vital.
With practice you should be able to induce both oversteer or understeer with any input you can give to the car.
I will expand on this part later, my fingertips are burning
Attached is a stable base setup which i reckon is very good to start. It will be the setup with which i’ll do all the “slow but fast” smooth laps and post the replay (next post).
This will grow as posts/ replays are added. If you have any additions that I’ve missed, please let me know.