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How do you learn a track?

Discussion in 'Assetto Corsa' started by JoelGL, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Hi, I'm relatively new to racing, so far been driving F1 2012 / 2013 only, and just recently acquired AC.

    With F1, there are markers w/c help learn braking points more easily. With AC, so far I only try to remember spots in the curbs. What techniques do you employ?

    I know different cars have their own characteristics and performance, unlike in F1, so practicing each car's performance is a must, but perhaps you have some common techniques in studying tracks.

    Also, I'm using a DFGT and just using the paddle shifters. At what point in the tachometer do you upshift, when the line goes red, midway, or all the way when the gear number turns red?

    Finally, when turning in curbs, is it faster to make the car skid slightly but revving hard for the wheels to catch grip, or better off just slowing down and making sure not to skid?

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  2. There are several ways to learn new tracks; I had never run new Silverstone or Vallelunga before so I had to learn them....I don't use any apps on screen myself and just treat it like I showed up at the track completely green...I drive a couple laps pretty slowly just to get an idea of what direction the turns go...I start slowly pushing a little more each lap and usually within a handful of laps I at least know the basic layout and where the fast sweepers are and the slow hairpins.

    Once I know the basic turns of the track I hotlap with a ghost and use my ghost to work on figuring out what is the best line, braking point, etc in any given turn....I usually run out of talent long before I am at the limits of the car but not much I can do about that other than at least get consistent making laps within a few tenths of my best speed.

    If you don't mind having things on your screen there should be an app that is a map of the track (move your mouse to the far right of the screen when in car to access the app menu)...not sure how you are supposed to look at it and the road at the same time but it seems to help some people.

    For the most part you want to shift right before the revs bang off the chip; as high in the rpm band as you can.
  3. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    Formula 1 cars aren't all the same. They do have differences in handling characteristics and performance.
    As for up shifting, obviously, if your sole objective is doing the fastest lap possible, you want to change up gears when you reach the top of the rev range, without hitting the limiter.

    If you're trying to save fuel or engine wear, then obviously it helps to up shift a little earlier, perhaps a few hundred revs earlier.
  4. Andrew Scott

    Andrew Scott
    Virtual Hoon! Premium

    For me the best way to learn a track is to just do laps, you don't need to go flat out either, I find that after 10 or so laps I have already started to remember the track layout, and it's only the more unusual/difficult corners that I keep messing up. Most games have track maps also which make learning tracks much easier.
    If you take your time and start slow, gradually get faster with your laps you will naturally find your brake points, sometimes there is no brake markers, so you need to look for something else that can be used for that purpose.

    I change up when the Tacho hits the line, maximum revs, but sometimes you need to short shift for different reasons, bumpy surfaces and wheel spin are the most common for me.

    If you slide/skid into corners you will lose time, not to mention unsettling the cars balance and shortening the life of your tyres/tires, take a look at any real life race video the drivers will always do there best to keep the wheels from locking/skidding and be as smooth and fast as they possibly can for the corner their approaching.

    These are just my techniques, others will have different ways of learning tracks and approaching their racecraft, in the end it's up to you how you go about it, but take your time. Good Luck.

  5. Turk


    You can find a really good video on youtube called "skip Barber racing school", I found it really helpful. It goes over the dynamics of the car but also how to break down a track to get the best line.
  6. Be smooth, smooth is fast.
    Don't listen to anyone who says the car must be moving about, squirming and complaining to be going fast.
    Imagine you are starving and you have just gotten yourself a curry, it's on the passenger seat, hot and ready, you are 5 miles from home and it's a sunny clear night with not traffic. Drive like you want to eat that curry and not wear it on the way home.
    I'm fastest when I'm not trying, like trying a little setup change then accidentally hot lapping for an hour.

    Edit. Some good reading here
    In particular
    "Jackie Stewart used to teach using a big shallow bowl-type-thing attached to a cars bonnet with a tennis ball in it. He used to teach people to drive around a racing circuit without the ball coming out of the bowl. I thought it was a very nice teaching aid. " This could be a simple mod for someone to construct.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
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  7. Thanks for all the information and tips.
  8. I used to learn a track in a sim by driving around and crashing when I went too fast, then making a note of where that crash was and trying to brake a bit earlier or not apply gas as early next time. In real life karting, on my motorcycle and in AC I go around slowly getting used to the track and slowly push the limits more and more going faster and faster.

    This is a major reason why I love AC so much. I'm not saying AC is more realistic than anything else, and forcing anyone to believe it. I just think for me it seems more like real life.
  9. Hi,

    When I come for the first time on a track, I use the track map app just in the middle of the screen for few laps, then when I begin to know it i disable this great app.
  10. I come from a similar background and am/was in the same position as you, so maybe this helps: I took Michael's (post #2) advice on another thread, and just drive a slower car on a new track for laps and laps on end. The Z4 for sequential/paddle shift cars, the Elise for H-pattern and clutch. Go slow at first, try different lines, and just do lap after lap after lap. When I crash somewhere, I try to slow down again (at least for the next couple of corners), and try to remember what I did wrong on the crash, and try not to do that again.

    Once I've run three full tanks, and around ~60 laps or so, you'll know the track on a level that you didn't think possible before. And after another 60 laps, it's another couple of seconds shaved.

    Doing it both in the Z4 and the Elise works for me, because with the Elise I want to shift as little as possible whereas the Z4 invites shifting often, and for some corners, staying in 3rd, for instance, rather than downshift to 2, then back up to 3rd on exit, is faster. Then jumping back into the Z4 what I've learned in the Elise also applies.

    For instance, at Magione, the corner at the end of the long straight (turn ... 6?), first I just crashed out into the gravel. Then I did it in 2nd gear, and kept that all the way till the finish straight. Then with upshift to 3rd by the next turn. Then in 3rd tentatively, and finally in 3rd at decent speed.

    After all that practice, a GT car or any of the supercars feels remarkably more stable and easier to handle.
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  11. @Oemie May i know your current PB in Magione driving BMW Z4 E89 Step 1 ?? Thanks first
  12. Again, great tips. Having started driving w/ the F1 games, I started off with AC driving the fastest I can go at a stretch and then experimenting brake points until I found what seemed to be the most appropriate braking spot. But then after reading the suggestions, I learned this seemed to be less efficient and a longer route to learning the track. After a few trials using the tips suggested here, I found it more efficient (i.e. start slow then speed up as I go on w/ succeeding the laps, and learn the curves as I go on).

    What makes it more complex, is each car is different, and requires different brake applications, braking points, handling, etc, for the same track. With the F1 games, they were fairly similar, as long as you knew the braking points. Though it still wasn't easy at the start. :)

    The 'balancing' skill was also enlightening. With F1 driving, although it still requires 'balance', I found it less demanding than the 'whobbly' feel most of the non-F1 cars have. The Skip Barber video is also great, still a lot of concepts to learn and master. Once again, thanks to all. There's a lot of great concepts to learn and effort to put into practice yet.

    Oh, BTW @michael, so far I do use some apps and find them useful guides, at least with my skill level, as having none keeps me guessing on a lot of things (i.e. map and gear especially, at least).

    Hope you keep the tips and suggestions coming, should there be others not yet mentioned.
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  13. Back in the day playing Forza and Forza 2 I had so much stuff on my screen it was crazy...Not sure I even knew you could turn off anything..

    Once you have made hundreds of laps on a track and you really know it you will find you don't need the track map at all....The fewer apps on screen the deeper the immersion IMO....I'm probably the only weirdo that doesn't use some kinds of gear app; I just remember what gear I am in (most of the time lol)
    I love the RSR timing app but I hate that I have to have it on my screen at all times.

    Just for fun though, go to a track you know and turn all the apps off and try to make a few laps like it was real. (you can cheat and use a car such as the 458 that tells you the gear you are in if you must lol)
    Report back here and tell me how weird I am or if it wasn't at least kinda cool having a "naked" screen (even if you would never race that way)
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  14. Ic. Looks like you actually driving the non upgrade version, i ask because i thought you drive the upgraded (Step 1) version of Z4 E89 :D
    By the way nice 5s improvement there, lets see if i can beat your time when i try this non upgrade version :p
  15. oh, yeah, sorry. That's the base model. That's the only version I've driven so far. Well, and the GT, of course, but that mostly on Imola.

    Give it a shot! It shouldn't be a particularly challenging time to beat. There must be a faster way through those final S-es that I haven't found yet. ;)

    At the moment I am driving the Elise a lot, since I have a clutch and H-pattern as well, and I really need to learn to downshift and blip right (get it wrong and you spin), and it slides a lot more than the Z4, so it's a good car to learn how to catch slides in.

    EDIT: did a 1:29:260 in hotlap/RSR, a 1:29:256 in practice in the Z4 S1. What's your time?
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
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  16. You mean you try Z4 Step 1 and time 1:29:256 ?? My PB on Step 1 is 1:25.4xx, will try base model later :D
    By the way best make a new post next time cause i might not see your edit message :coffee:
    Or we continue inbox to avoid off topic warning :D
  17. This is all about learning tracks, so I doubt it's a problem, ;)

    1.25.4x, eh? Wow, I got work to do....! That's quite good, would make you 7th on RSR, and only 1.1 secs off the world record.

    It's amazing how after 100s of laps, you still find new lines. There definitely is more time to be found, as I managed a 1:28.960 with the Elise last evening, and 1.29.940 with the standard Z4 right before going to bed last night.

    I really like the Elise right now. It's a great car to learn a track with and get the braking, downshifts and turn-in points right. I think I'll take it to Mugello today.
  18. Balance and weight transfer I think is done really, really well in AC - especially when compared to F1 20xx. IRL, we have a couple of really good curvy mountain roads around here, and that really taught me about weight transfer in normal road driving (even though you'd normally never drive anywhere near its limit). I find that experience transfers really well to AC, and explains a lot why smooth steering and anticipating a corner is important. Do it wrong and the car punishes you.

    I feel the same about lift-off oversteer and loss of traction/control during a bad downshift without blipping (especially in a corner). Instant punishment.

    BTW, love that Skip Barber video. The iRacing vids are good, too.