Dallara Setup Guide

 

What I will be going into detail about on this guide is what ranges of specific settings you should use, and explain in some detail what effects those adjustments will have. Although we will go into some technical details about some settings, we are going to try our best to make this guide as understandable as possible for any person reading it.
 

Spring/Shock Package


This is a key area to begin your setup tweaking, because this will decide how much ride height you should use, which is an important part of getting the Dallara to handle well. The biggest question is what spring rates to use in this car. Typically from our expereience at Orion, we will start with the front end. A range from 800LBS to 1250LBS, and on the rear between 650LBS and 800LBS. Typically if you run the higher setting of 1250lbs on the front you\'ll want to run the 800LBS on the rear. But this isn\'t always the case. However on a bumpy track like Sebring or Road Atlanta you may not want to run that much spring rate, as stiff springs makes the car more responsive, but harder to drive. In some cases this can be faster, but in other cases it may be too inconsistent.

A Lower front spring will effectively give the front end a bit more grip in most cases, however sometimes a higher spring can do this as well. The main area you will notice this though is on corner entry the car will snap to the apex a lot easier with less wheel input, if you are experiencing this with a higher spring you spring rate may have been too low.

A Lower rear will give you better traction off a corner, again though a higher spring can have this effect as well depending on how low you already are. If the spring rate is too low for the pressure and ride height you are using you can actually lose grip here by running it too low. Camber also can play a factor in this as well.
 

Tire Pressures

 

Tire Pressures are vital in any race car, however the ranges that seem to work well are quite small in the Dallara. Front end 18.0-21.0 PSI, rear 15.5-17.0. Typically you would run the higher pressures in say qualifying, with a lower pressure in the race. The tricky part for the race setup is that you need to run a low pressure as well as a pretty low ride height, This can make the car feel quite bad for 2-5 laps. So you may need to take it easier during this time. The downside to running higher pressures is that the car will not perform as well on the longer run. So depending on the length of the fuel stint either can be useful.
 

Camber/Caster


Starting with the frontend, anything from -1.0 to -2.6 on Camber is good. because of the nature of the tire pressures you can\'t really use the tire temps as a guide for camber or caster. The lower range will give you a more responsive front end on the entry of the corner and in some cases can reduce corner exit understeer, If you are having trouble with understeer on corner exit you may be running a bit too much front camber, but you may also be too high on the caster as well. How to tell the difference if it\'s camber or Caster. It\'s not that easy, but typically too much caster will make the car too snug in the center of the corner, where too much camber will mostly effect the exit of the corner. Unless your way too high on camber in which case you\'ll probably know about it. One thing to keep in mind when setting up front camber is that too much negative camber makes braking into corners more difficult as you have a smaller contact patch on the road when running in a straight line, most noticeable in slower corners. This is where a higher than -2 front camber comes into play. If your on a track that has many heavy braking zones, it\'s probably a good idea to start off with a camber closer to -1

Rear Camber, anywhere from -0.8 to -1.4 is a good setting. Typically I sit around -1.0 to -1.2  Some drivers seem to like the lower camber on the rear more, and others like the higher rear cambers, It seems to be a driver preference. Basically what a lower rear camber will do is allow the back end of the car to rotate quickly on the entry to a corner, if you have sufficient rear grip this can allow you to straighten the wheel sooner and get on the throttle quicker. So ideally you want as little rear camber you can get away with. The higher camber only really comes into play for stability. You typically run more rear camber because your trying to prevent the car from rotating too quickly which is in some cases preventing you from getting on the throttle.

Caster, this is a setting I also find is a little more driver oriented. However I find anywhere from 8.0 to max caster works. Although the rest of the setup will have an effect on which caster is better suited to the car. Normally I am hovering around the 9.0-10.0 range on the caster.  Higher caster again will make the car more snug in the center of the corner and even start under-steering on the exit. If your having this issue your not getting the maximum mechanical grip from the car. This could mean the tire pressure are too low at this point in the run as well. or that you camber is too high or even too low, as well as it could mean your caster is too high.
 

Ride Heights


This is probably the most important part of setting up the Dallara. The reason is that is has a huge effect on how the car drives. 1 click in either direction can have a huge effect on how the car turns or doesn\'t turn. So getting this right is vital.

Lets again start with the front end of the car. A range from 0.800 to 1.000 inches is the range you should use. However anything under .800 inches I don\'t normally use, because typically even with a high spring rate the car just bottoms too much to take advantage of the lower ride height. A Lower front end will give the front end more bite/grip So this will loosen the car somewhat. A higher ride height will do the opposite. So it will make the car more snug/understeer. You\'ll notice this mostly on corner enter and exit, and its very noticeable in high speed turns. Just to be a little more clear your spring rate pretty much decides your ride height setting for the most part. You can adjust it slightly based on what you want your car to do though. So for a stiffer spring you would run a lower ride height, a softer spring you would typically run a higher ride height.

Okay the rear end. Anything from 1.97 to 2.15 is what seems to work. Again this depends on your spring package, but even on a lower spring package of 650LBS I always try to stay below 2.100 on the rear. Even more so in race conditions because the ride height gets higher as the fuel comes down. This makes the car harder to drive if the ride height gets too high in the rear. The down-force on the rear is changing as the fuel burns off. This can make the car very hard to drive in a long stint if you leave this too high to start off with. Having it lower however makes the car somewhat slow in the first few laps, but its a good trade off.  Higher rear ride height will make the car looser, more oversteer, Typically you\'ll notice this getting on the throttle, and in high speed turns, but over a long run if your ride height is too high this can also overheat your rear tires making this even worse, you may notice this in other places as well at that point. So it\'s extremely important to get this right.

If that wasn\'t enough, here is something else to think about. More rake (positive rake = front ride height lower than rear ride height) will also increase drag. This means a lower straight line speed. Increasing rake also usually means you will need to either decrease front wing or increase rear wing angle (which also increases drag) as it makes the car looser. Finding a good compromise with all the aerodynamic and ride height settings can be very difficult. Typically you would adjust the rake to your liking first for slow corners and then adjust your wing settings to make the car stable in faster corners.
 

Wings and Aerodynamics


This is where a lot of drivers freak out because there is so many different bits and parts you can use or not use, that its hard to know if your running the right settings. I am going to split this up into parts so you can understand why I use what I use and in some cases why not to use certain settings here.

First Wickers! Don\'t use them on most tracks So set them as low as possible, Well lets just say they are useless on almost every track aside from maybe Infineon and maybe Laguna Seca. The reason you don\'t need these is most tracks don\'t require max wing settings. The only tracks that require this and even some of those it cost too much straight line speed and acceleration that they slow you down too much. In the Case of Infineon however there is no real straights on this track. So you can take advantage of running a lot of wicker on this track, and it helps a lot of the slower and medium speed corners. So on a track like this Go for it. Any track with any kind of a decent sized straight, don\'t use them.

Side/Horiz Wicker Parts, Basically 3.000 on the Horiz Wicker, and from 1.875 to 2.500 on the Side Wicker. You may use 3.000 on a track like Infineon or Laguna where you want every last bit of downforce possible, but on most tracks you want to stay in the range of 1.875 to 2.500 on the side wicker. The Horiz Wicker Span use 2/3 on every track, again Infineon or Laguna may be an exception where you might want to try 3/3. The next question is why? Well lowering the side wicker past 1.875 has too much of a downforce loss vs drag loss, and going any higher than 2.500 has too much of a drag gain for the downforce gain. So the ideal range for the side wicker is what I have outlined. This also applies for the Horiz Wicker Span, as 2/3 has a very small amount of downforce loss for quite a decent amount of drag loss.  3/3 Is also good but really only needed on a really high downforce track. 1/3 has way too much downforce loss to be worth ever using.

Front And Rear Wings, Basically you want to pay attention to the Aero Balance % at the bottom of the setup screen, because this is the important number. I set my Ride height on the calculator at 0.750, and 1.875. The actual wing settings will be based on the track your running on, So the range is pretty much anything in this case. However you want to keep an aero balance between 43.5 to 47.0 % Typically I run close to the 46% aero balance, and that pretty much covers wing settings. If you feel you need to adjust these than do so. Typically I tend to lower the rear wing if I want to loosen the car a little bit aerodynamically or lower the front wing to tighten it, The Reason I do it this way is because this will give me just a little more speed from the car as well on the straights. Where if I do this the other way I actually make the car a bit slower on the straight. However in some cases it may be necessary to do it the other way if you are lacking front or rear downforce.
 

Ramp & Extensions


All On is a good setting and if you want more straight line speed Side Pod Extenesions Off is usually the best setting, All Off can sometimes provide an unstable car, So Typically I try to set the car up to run with All on if I can, but in some cases you may not have a choice where your already running the minimum downforce, and still want straight line speed. The reason I suggestion Side Pods off is because it has the least effect on the downforce loss, and gives a reasonable amount of drag loss so you\'re top speed benefits the most without losing too much downforce. Where taking anything else off has a much bigger effect on how the car will drive, and may require a lot of other changes to make up for it. If your up for the extra work go for it!  As I do use the Tire Ramps On Only as well. smile
 

Toe In/Out


This is a good way to adjust your cars stability I find, for the front end the range I use is from +1 to -2 Basically +1 will make the car more responsive on the front end on the entry of a corner and a negative number will reduce that effect. In the rear I usually use either 0 or +2, 0 is normally a better setting, as it allows the backend to rotate, however if your finding you need a little more bite when coming off a corner, it helps reduce wheel spin by running +2 on the rear.
 

Gearing and Differential Settings


This is actually a very important part of getting speed out of the car, many drivers overlook gearing, and diff settings. So I will try to go into a little more detail here than I should to hopefully help people to use these more.

The Dallara like most Formula type cars have a what I like to call an exponential engine curve. What I mean by that is the more RPM\'s you are using the more torque the engine is producing. So basically you want to shift in this car the latest as possible. Just before you hit the limiter, That also means you want the car screaming at the end of every straight, even if it\'s in 4th or 5th gear. Obviously you\'ll have to make some sacrifices on some tracks, but this should be what you aim for. Another thing to aim for with gearing is by using the two drop gears you can fine tune your 1st gear. This is one thing I usually try to do as soon as possible. Some tracks you may get a lot of wheel spin coming off a 1st gear corner, so by adjusting your drop gears you can make 1st a lot taller if you need it. As normally you will be always running the tallest ratio of 2.286 on 1st, So this allows you to make that even taller, which than you can focus on making the other gears work.
 

Differential Settings


So Clutch Plates, Preload and Ramp Angle? ehhh whats that? smile Well if you guys remember other sims, where we had Coast and Power, the Ramp Angle is exactly that. So 45/45 and 60/60. Now that doesn\'t give us a lot of options like we are used to having, but what do these do exactly? Reading this guide on Differentials and how they work can be helpful.

In a nutshell, the 45/45 ramp angle is the preferred setting. I typically adjust the preload from 15-35lbs as well, depending on the track, In some cases I\'ll use 2 or even 3 clutch plates. The 60/60 angle I have used in some cases, but the majority of the time the 45/45 angle is the better ramp angle to use. Preload allows you to fine tune the the effect the ramp angle has. A higher preload will make the differential more locked. Meaning less wheel spin and more corner entry stability or understeer if you go too far. Clutches have the same effect, except in a bigger change. So if your looking for a lot of extra stability adding a clutch plate is better than adding a bunch of preload. Getting this balanced to your driving technique can be tricky, but it is an important part of getting the car to have the early rotation you need to get on the throttle as soon as possible, and getting the wheel released.

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