Setup, Motec and the beauty of the RF2 Tyre model. Ive just had a very interesting day playing with setup in the Formula Renault 3.5 at Malaysia using Motec and I wanted to share some of it. We did a 45 min race (27 laps)on Thursday night. Most of my laps were +3 (appr mid 1:47) sec compared to the winners pace, I managed 1 lap that was +2 sec. (mid 1:46) I was using a setup that I was given as my own was woefully slow. This was a surprise and when I checked the differences using the very handy "compare" facility in the garage menu the biggest difference was the "Roll Centre" setting. In the race front tyre wear was a concern and my tyres were getting nuked with high temps in the critical turn 5-6-7 section in sector 2. So despite this setup being a lot faster than mine (appr 2.5 sec) I wanted to try to improve it even more. (I can never help myself from wanting to fiddle and "make it my own"). First task was to increase front grip to reduce the tyre melting understeer in that sector. The technique option was to lift and get it pointed in more but I wanted to see if setup could help. My earlier testing had convinced me that -3.3 offered more mid corner front grip than the current -3.5. It did. A marginal improvement was found poss .3 sec /lap. But as importantly more front grip and less sliding meant lower front temps and wear. Lowering front ARB made it too "pointy" the oversteer was unmanageable. Next I went to rear camber. My testing had shown that -1.8 offered more grip than -1.7. I tried that but the extra rear grip created understeer. I put that knowledge in my back pocket* as it meant that I could now do more to increase front grip as I had a tool to match it with rear grip. Next to improve front grip I lowered rear wing 1 click. It worked to an extent but the rear lost its planted feel and required constant adjustment of steering and throttle mid corner in fast turns. Not reliable for a whole 45 min race. I needed to be able to rely on the rear and subsequently be able plant the throttle as early as possible ideally before the apex but certainly mid corner and corner exit to take stress off the front tyres. So rear wing went back to V1. *Now armed with potentially more rear grip I went to the -1.8 and this allowed me to again test the 2 clicks lower front ARB. Good result -stronger turn in but now matched with rear grip too. That change is locked in. With all this extra rear grip rather than lowering rear aero I can now risk adding 1 click to front aero. That works well in turns 4-5-6. This has the potential to save tyres. I have much more front grip and its now time to do a long run test. I have also made changes to brake cooling and pressure after looking at brake temp data. I load the car with race fuel of 82 litres. My first timed lap on full fuel is a 1:45.763. Eureka! But then something unpredictable happens. My rear tyres start wearing faster than my front tyres had done on the race! From lap 2 I am up to mid-high 1:46 and by lap 16, 1:49 I manage a couple of 1:47s on lap 20-21 but my rear tyres were gone particularly the rear left. A critical tyre on this clockwise circuit with many high G corners. Logical conclusion? The setup has by creating a such a strong front end has compromised the rear end and the rears are sliding too much. Well that was my conclusion too, but I was completely wrong. I opened up motec and looked at the tyre temperatures over the laps.There was a massive spike on the rear left on the exit of the hairpin T9 with the left rear unweighted and some steering lock and also occasionally on the exit of T2 and T4 on the rear right. I was wheel spinning like mad, no real handling problem with that but all that heat meant that at T10 the slow tight right hander (Vale Marco Simoncelli) my left rear was already gone at a turn where I really needed it quite a lot. In my view 2 things contributed to all this wheel spin. 1) The setup was a little less understeery than V1 so I was pointed where I wanted to go sooner and on the gas sooner. But in my hurry I was overdoing it in the lower gears. and 2) The slight increase in rear camber meant a little less traction. (its a trade off rear camber. More means more lateral grip but less traction on accelleration). So its not setup its adapting technique to a little more oversteer. Armed with that info its time for another long run test. I reload the exact same setup but a driver with a better understanding gets in the cockpit. I look after the rear tyres a little more, upshift a touch earlier to 2nd and ensure I am pointed straight at the exit of T9 before adding throttle. The result. Lap 1 was slower as I didnt hammer it 1:47.1 vs that 1:45.7 Lap 2 was dead even Laps 4 - 10 were mid 1:46 and faster by .25 sec Laps 11-16 were +.22 sec for some unexplained reason From lap 16 it was still mid 1:46 (-1.5 to 2 sec) and doing it easy. I stop at lap 20 with very nice tyres still yellow and only 7 laps to run. I check Motec. The temperature spikes on the surface temp are gone and the rear tyres have 20% less total wear compared to the first run. The rubber (mid depth temp) also reflects this and the tyre carcass (deepest) temp instead of climbing relentlessly for the whole race and hitting 147 deg stops climbing and stabilises at about lap 15.This all means I can expect to continue running mid 1:46 till race end. Thats appr 27 sec improvement over race distance from my race pace on Thursday. It means I wont catch the aliens but am now a consistent +2 sec instead of +3 sec. Also that I should be a little patient if need be in the race and run my race pace. One or a few of my mid pack competitors might outrace me in the opening 6-10 laps but if they come back to me in the final 10 laps goodness it will feeel nice! I havent completed a full distance yet I need to see my family and am happy to keep the final 7 laps a surprise! So back to the title Setup, Motec and the beauty of the RF2 Tyre model. I find it amazing this depth of information that we have to work with. The RF2 tyre model is incredible! Watching the way the temps work and the 3 depths interact and that bad driving or overdriving costs you in the long run. Also the very real and immediate impact that setup has. R Factor 2 is awesome. Finally that was all in 1 car on one track. There are currenly about 800 combinations to work with and thats before we factor in another variable called weather. US$85.99 for life, expensive??? I would have happily paid that for the Motec PLugin.