############################################################################### Nurburgring Nordschleife Speed Guide - Gran Turismo 4 ############################################################################### By Mike Kimball Version 1.5, February 15, 2008 ######## CONTENTS ######## Copyright Notice Contact The Author Foreword Acknowledgements Version Updates The Car Game Equipment Shoes - On or Off? Left-Foot Braking Driving Tips That Have Helped Me Go Faster Nordschleife - Step by Step (Includes all section names and time splits) Addendum 1 - racing setup Addendum 2 - sub-5'00 examples Addendum 3 - lap milestones Addendum 4 - experimentation ================ COPYRIGHT NOTICE ================ Copyright 2008 Mike Kimball Intended for private, personal, and educational usage only. Originally written to be displayed on www.gamefaqs.com. May not be placed on any other web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. (Or you can beg for forgiveness later if you at least let me know you've posted it somewhere.) All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders. ================== Contact The Author ================== I welcome email regarding this guide. Please note that my anti-spam settings are high, so if you don't get a response, there is a chance I didn't see your mail. Try again and avoid flagged words (you know what I mean). Make sure you put something about this guide in the subject. Email: bloodmetalcontent@yahoo.com ======== Foreword ======== First of all, I want to make clear that in no way should you take this guide as a literal instruction of how to drive the Nordschleife with a real car in real life. Going this fast in real life may not be humanly possible, for all I know. This guide applies only to getting a fast lap time in Gran Turismo 4 under a very specific set of circumstances. I went to the Nurburgring in late August 2007 at the end of a short summer tour with my band. By this time I had turned over 600 laps in the game as well as watched many different dvds of in-car footage. Although this can give you a great familiarity with the track layout, nothing comes close to the thrill of the real experience. I took a co-driver lap in the Zakspeed Viper Jet (a street-legal version of a race car that has won the 24-hour Nurburgring race three times) - a beautiful and powerful car with 450hp and crazy wide F285/R335 Pilot Sport tires. Even with quite a lot of traffic we went BTG in 8'20. The g's in some corners were intense. I had the time of my life but at the same time I could see how easy it would be to become overconfident in a fast street car and end up getting caught out quite badly. This guide is geared for those who seek suggestions to improve their time in GT4, and who have, at the minimum, memorized the track. It helps if you know the track well enough to race with your display set to simple, which turns off the flashing gear suggestions. ================ Acknowledgements ================ I would like to acknowledge some sources which have offered specific inspiration for this guide: justgofaster.com, Nurburgring for Dummies by Christopher Heiser, and of course Ben Lovejoy’s awesome guide. As for other acknowledgements, I must mention dvds from FIA Formula 1 2004-2006, Best Motoring International vols. 9-16 and Tsuchiya’s Drift Bible, and Skip Barber’s Going Faster. Also, much thanks for the In Car 956 dvd featuring Derek Bell and his commentary of a lap at Nurburgring, and the Nissan GT-R dvd featuring fantastic laps from 'ringmeister Dirk Schoysman. Special thanks to all who made it possible for me to visit the Nurburgring in person at last - my bus driver Max first and foremost for setting it all up, my band and crew, especially my tour manager Oise for helping make it possible, and all at Zakspeed for an amazing high-speed experience. =============== Version Updates =============== Version 1.5 - As usual, some corrections of inaccuracies and omissions - New fast times and setups - Setups now include arcade mode, as well as Gran Tourismo mode - Added a lap milestones section with my personal lap tally Version 1.4 - New fast time and setup updates - Addendum containing a setup for racing conditions (fuel and tire wear) - More updates to the turn-by-turn guide and racing hints Version 1.3 - Wouldn't ya know it? I had to correct a couple of omissions from 1.2 - Wouldn't ya know it? I abandoned the rear toe/front downforce experiment - Wouldn't ya ... I changed the setup and finally managed to go faster Version 1.2 - New info in The Car and Driving Tips sections - Added Left-Foot Braking section - Added Addendum 2 - experimentation Version 1.1 - A couple of minor errors have been corrected. - My record time and splits have been updated - along with new info about the car setup and the incidentals of the lap. - There is now an addendum of other example times/setups that beat 5'00. ======= The Car ======= Start with a Formula Gran Turismo in your garage, or you can select one in arcade mode. If you are going for a best time, you want to use practice or Time Trial mode, either of which allow you to race without fuel or tire wear to worry about and also give you the option of having a ghost replay of your best lap to use as a guide (although sometimes this is more of a distraction than a help since it's easy to watch the other car instead of the apexes and reference points). Incidentally, it came as a complete surprise when I actually surpassed my best time, using arcade mode. I thought the hard suspension would cancel out even 1069hp and 495kg with RSS tires, but after some practice doing single races, I tried again and in three laps went 4'59, 4'54, and 4'52. Stunned. With a little more practice I got down to the time reported here (4'50.158). Other cars that are fast enough to beat the 5-minute mark include many group C cars such as the Audi R8 or Minolta Toyota 88C-V, which may be a lot easier to drive if you are using arcade mode. I did it in the Formula car, but I still say it's exceedingly difficult to cope with the hard suspension and loose rear end, and you will be white-knuckling each jagged lap. In the setups I used, most of the settings are on their defaults - in GT mode I adjusted the suspension, transmission, brakes, and driving aids. In arcade mode you can only vaguely adjust the transmission by changing the top speed in quick setup, along with the weight and power of the car, the tires, and driving aids. For a single race challenge I often give the other cars RSS tires while giving myself RSH tires, heavy weight, and low power, but for time attack I do just the opposite. Of course every setup is made up of compromises, especially at Nurburgring where the circuit is incredibly varied so the car setup works great in some sections but not as well in others. The setup you use might vary according to your driving style as it applies to different situations on the course. Ultimately the car setup can seem to help or hinder you depending on how you are driving that day, so its effects should be considered less important than the ability to adjust one's driving style. Nurburgring Nordschleife is probably the best example of how crucial this adaptability is to getting around the track in one piece, let alone setting a fast time. There is a reason some drivers get paid more than others - it's because the driving is still the single most important factor in going faster. That said, here is the setup that currently produced my quickest time in GT mode, and allows me to lap confidently and consistently in the 4'54 to 4'57 range: Setting changes from default, GT mode: -------------------------------------- Suspension Spring rate: 12.0, 12.1 Ride height: 62, 62 Compression: 6, 6 Toe: 0, 0 Transmission Manual Gear ratios: auto 18 2nd: 4.523 3rd: 3.290 4th: 2.490 5th: 1.960 6th: 1.667 7th: 1.442 Brakes 4, 3 Driving aids: 0, 0, 0 Fastest time: 4'54.582 Setup notes: ------------ Brakes: I biased the front for stability on corner approaches. Transmission: I tweak gears 2-4 to avoid hitting the rev limiter around certain corners, and 6th and 7th are shortened for maximum acceleration to the terminal velocity of the car. Toe: Zeroed for cornering stability at high speeds. Ride height: Hard to tell how much this matters but higher seems to help with bumpy sections. Springs and compression: By softening the suspension I am able to drive the same lines as I would in any other car. Setting changes from default, arcade mode: ------------------------------------------ RSS, MT, 390kph, +20% power, -10% weight, driving aids none Fastest time: 4'50.158 Obviously the goal here is maximum grip and power, with the lightest car. This setup approximates the gearing for GT mode but you still have to be extremely careful with the throttle in gears 2-4, even more so than in GT mode. Overall the driving style is different to accommodate the hard and loose suspension - earlier braking, more careful steering, more careful throttle and brakes using the throttle to turn the car. It gets very tricky to go straight or even shift above 180mph because the wheel is shaking so bad, and the car really bounces around above 220, so Kesselchen and Schwedenkreuz are difficult, and even Fuchsrohe becomes rather nervous. Also the spin-happy rear makes high-speed corners require a certain amount of finesse, so you really have to work on your line and steer carefully. ============== Game Equipment ============== If you are using the PS2 controller to drive the car, I can only say best of luck. It didn’t take me long to realize that with the controller it is incredibly difficult to get the proper level of steering control as well as throttle and brake. At first I got the Logitech Driving Force Pro and a fairly inexpensive chair and table, but I eventually was able to get the Sparco cockpit and the G25 wheel, which have improved my game dramatically. I also only use the paddle shifters now - the stick shifter on the G25 is not compatible with the Sparco cockpit so I can only mount it to the side, not a place where it is useful. ================== Shoes - On or Off? ================== My suggestion is use what you are comfortable with. However, I can definitely say racing with bare feet causes me to make the most mistakes, so I only do this when I’m lazy. I got all of my quickest times wearing socks - this seems to be ideal for the game since it compensates for the lack of feedback and weight in the pedals. As for shoes - I wear Adidas Adi Racer Goodyear shoes, which work quite well, and within a few laps I was able to get a lap time of 5’01, so maybe with practice they would work just as well as socks. With shoes the application of throttle and brake becomes slightly smoother, so in a way it acts as some measure of traction control and stability management. ================= Left-Foot Braking ================= Many drivers say this skill is indispensable in racing - and both carting and Formula 1 pretty much require it. Obviously there is still going to be a need to right-foot brake, but in situations where no gear shift is needed or when there is no clutch operation, left-foot braking can add a lot of stability by eliminating the "coasting" time where the right foot switches pedals, as well as the inherent delay to braking reaction time. I myself have been practicing this extensively both in the game as well as driving my own car. At this point it has improved my fastest time in pretty much every car, not to mention making it easier to drive in other conditions (especially rally). ========================================== Driving Tips That Have Helped Me Go Faster ========================================== First, my time is not the fastest - from what I have read on the internet, someone has gone as fast as 4’48. Matching the record time seems difficult when you are already racing at your limit, but I still remember being stuck at 5’23. The tricky part is that as you improve in one section, it changes your approach to the next, and so on. All it takes is time, practice, and gradual improvements in your knowledge of the car and the track. Frequently the way to make a breakthrough is to drive a different car for a while. Some other cars I enjoy driving at the Nordschleife are: Ford GT40 Race Car, Lotus Elise, Mercedes SLR McLaren, and the Nissan R89C. The different handling capabilities of another car can force you to approach corners differently, and can also point out some bad habits you may have. Slower cars let you focus harder on your racing line, and can make the the Formula car seem so much lower, wider, and more grippy than before. Next, I believe firmly in the advice of Skip Barber, who emphasizes the importance of exits from corners over late braking. Obviously I brake as late as I can, but braking later improves your time in hundredths of a second, while getting on the throttle earlier for the exit improves your time in tenths. Also, the Formula car handles best when you have your foot on the throttle. Braking earlier is also safer, since all you lose if you brake too early is time, but braking too late could lose you much more. Another valuable piece of advice is from Petter Solberg: “You have to try to be very neat, no attack, because as soon as you try to push harder, you go slower. So just keep it neat and steady.” Professor Nakaya seems to concur, that in some situations the driver’s attempt to push harder will be useless since it only increases the steering angle as well as the friction of the wheels on the pavement, which cancels out or even negates any increase the driver desires to make. Aggressive driving is often useful in racing, but for time attack you want to be as smooth as possible. Undulating corners are all over the place at Nordschleife, but they are not as friendly and predictable as a track like Suzuka, so you will need to think about how weight transfer affects braking and throttle as your car alternates quickly between understeer and oversteer, often in the same corner - not easy to do in a video game, where the vertical changes aren't always visually obvious. In most of the sections that have given me trouble, this was the aspect to which I was not giving enough consideration. Finally, one trick I often use on corner exits is to shift up early if I seem to be tracking a little too wide - this causes a condition not unlike a throttle lift-off, which makes the car suddenly cut inside a little. A quick upshift is often just the little push inside that I need to keep it on the track and accelerating, without making huge steering corrections. Shifting up early is also a good way to control oversteer on the exits of corners, especially corners going downhill or over a brow. As I said above the setup I'm using along with many laps of practice means I feel more and more like it's just basic flowing lines, using as smooth and steady inputs as I can manage, adjusting the acceleration for the shape of each corner. When you feel it, it is just magic. Ok, now it’s time to take a lap around the track! =========================== Nordschleife - Step by Step =========================== My time splits below are listed as my fastest time, which happens to be in arcade mode, then my fastest time in the opposite (GT) mode in parentheses. T13 (0) ------- If you got a good exit from the final right turn of Hohenrain, you should be coming toward the start/finish straight accelerating from 3rd gear through 4th and 5th, tracking to the right side, and then braking down to 2nd gear for the first left. Watch out for understeer on entry, and then for oversteer as you exit downhill. I widened 2nd and 3rd gears mainly for this corner. You should reach 6th gear for the second right, where the rear wants to come out on the exit if you push too hard, so turn in early and keep it flat and steady, maybe squeeze out of the wheel a tiny bit on the exit. You should be able to reach 7th gear before you brake for the next section. Drop down to 5th gear and track carefully to the right edge. Hatzenbach ---------- Take the first left with a brief throttle in 5th gear, then brake into 4th so you can throttle through the right. Back up to 5th for the next left, throttle through, then keep the revs high in 4th to throttle to the right, then dab the brakes to medium revs in 4th for the hard throttle to the left, exiting wide and heading to the next section in 5th gear. Hocheichen ---------- This corner made me start examining my ride height. As you approach the first right, brake fairly early down to 3rd gear, and be especially careful on the throttle as you go over the crest as straight as you can, try to get into 4th before the left, and let the car track to the right edge on exit. Flat out from here to the next section. Quiddelbacher Hohe T1 0'30.739 (0'31.596) ---------------------- This section is flat out but bumpy, so it is one place where stability management tends to freak out and stiff suspensions get nervous. Stick to the basics and you should be able to reach 7th gear before the brutal crest at the start of the next section. Flugplatz --------- Go over the left center of the crest as straight as you can and try not to come off the throttle. You should have a beat to let the car settle before heading into the double-apex right-hander. This corner is very easy to get wrong going flat out at this speed, and is the main place that made me set the toe to zero. You should be able to keep the throttle wide open in 7th gear if you take the corner smooth enough. Barely touch the first apex, and you should be able to come around the second one without changing your steering or throttle. Keep the car settled and reaching around 206mph as you approach the first of the gentle left bends into the next section. Schwedenkreuz (Top speed 232mph TT, 219mph GT) -------------------------------- This is all flat out, in 7th gear. Go over the crest near the middle or slightly right but go as straight as possible. The next long left is totally flat, but you need to be very gentle with the turn in, and the Formula car seems to be one of the few that can do this at 219mph. One mistake is hitting the inside curb which will really throw off your balance. Try to make the car track slightly left of center as you brake hard down to 3rd into the next section. Aremberg T2 0'53.673 (0'55.492) ---------------------- It's important for your time to get a good exit here so concentrate on your braking point and get a good line. There's some red graffiti on the pavement that I usually use as a reference. This is a somewhat long right-hander so throttle control is important. Keep the revs high in 3rd as you turn in, and try to shift into 4th a little before the exit, and try to aim for a straight line for good acceleration on the exit toward the bridge. Fuchsrohre ---------- Drive through the bends as straight as you can, touching each curb, until you approach the compression that leads up the hill to the left. You can stay completely flat all the way to 7th gear. As you come up the hill stay to the right and get ready to dance as you shift to 6th, turn in for the left over the curb as straight as you can with the throttle steady and revs high, then drop to 5th and again back on the throttle, revs steady for the right. Hug the curb without actually hitting it, then as the track straightens drop to 3rd to prepare for the next section. Adenauer Forst T3 1'13.725 (1'16.075) ---------------------- This section is wonderful for going off the track or spinning out. I used to have trouble at this spot fairly often - the trick is don't get tempted to brake too late since it is more important to get a really good exit. Turn in early for the left and it should be fairly simple making the right. You should be well into 4th gear as you pass the section timer. Continue accelerating flat out for the next section. Metzgesfeld ----------- This is another easy spot to lose control, so be very careful with your line and try to stay off the curb on the inside left. This can be taken flat in 7th, then drop quick as you can to 3rd for the next hard left. Get back into 4th and pass the curb for the right turn, and into 5th as you head down the hill into the next section. Kallenhard ---------- Let the car track left as you come down the hill, and you want to brake fairly early and drop back to 3rd. Apex late but get on the inside until you can see a clear exit, shift to 4th, and track to the outside. Continue through 5th and 6th as you approach the next scary section of the track. Spiegelkurve ------------ This left-right is absolutely brutal at high speed, and has made me blow countless laps and do endless tweaking to the car. This section led me to soften up the springs to at least 13 so that I could stay in 6th gear. The tricky thing is getting the right line on the approach, with throttle on but steady. The cambers shift violently from left to right, almost like a side- to-side brow, so it is very easy to steer too hard and spin out. Pass through as straight as possible, with only minimal steering inputs - don't take a wide line. Try to get some throttle before and after the right, avoiding the curb but if you roll over it (and some grass), so be it. Don't try to make any wild corrections - it will already be way too late. “Miss-Hit-Miss” --------------- This is another place where the turns feel like they change on you so you don't want to be accelerating and tightening your turning arc at the same time. I can leave it in 6th but right after the "hit" curb it always tries to throw the rear loose so there's some braking before it and some easing on the steering afterward. Throttle hard down the straight, into 7th. Wehrseifen T4 1'48.288 (1'50.406) ---------------------- Little bit of dancing here. Drop to 5th and gas a bit into the right turn, then drop a little more slowly into 2nd for the left turn, apexing somewhat late so you can get back on the throttle and into 3rd and 4th for the following right turn. Pass the T4 section time and keep accelerating up through 5th and 6th into the next section. Breidscheid ----------- Approach the right bend in 6th gear but start braking for the left somewhat early - you want to be in 4th and close to the inside, and this is a corner that will really mess you up if you are late (in real life there is a concrete wall here, so we are talking serious damage). The pavement is quite rough so the exit is difficult to do with full throttle, and going too wide makes it hard to set up the following right turn. Get 5th on the exit and the car will get some acceleration to the next bit. Ex-Muhle -------- This section is also very rough. If you are keeping things stable you should be in 5th gear before the little hill - drop back down to 4th and try to brake early since it is very bumpy and therefore traction really sucks - keep the throttle easy around 100mph for the right turn and stay close to the apex or you will go very wide at the exit. Also be careful accelerating up the hill - you should get up to 5th before the crest but if you push too hard you will get wheel spin and possibly lose the rear. Continue over the crest and down the hill, where you should be reaching the top of 6th gear before the next section. Lauda Kink ---------- In the Formula car there isn't much to this - stay hard on the throttle and you should be able to hit 7th gear before the apex, after which you can keep accelerating down the hill and track a bit off to the left before the tricky dancing for the next section. Bergwerk -------- This corner's odd shape and weird camber make most attempts to brake late end in understeer followed by tracking wide into the Armco. This is one of the two most important corners as far as getting a strong exit so brake fairly early to 4th, throttle toward the apex, lift, then throttle a bit before you can see the exit. This will give you good speed up the hill into one of the longer flat-out sections of the track. Kesselchen T5 2'14.240 (2'16.707) ---------------------- The Formula car easily takes this flat all the way through. The first main left bend is the point where you should be in 7th gear already, or at least shifting at its apex. The next slight right curves are very bumpy, which is one place where stability control will freak out and suddenly careen you into the Armco. After this there is a quick right-left, so try to miss-hit the split curbs on the right, then just touch the edge of the curb on the left. Aim for a straight line that will put you on the curb up close to the Armco at the right edge, and brace for the next section. Angstkurve T6 2'31.637 (2'35.135) ---------------------- This left hander is another spot where it is very easy to push too hard and lose the rear end, and I'm sure it was another contributor to my zero toe setting. It is possible to take this flat if you are very careful with your line and stay close to the curb on the inside left, then ease off the wheel just as the car tracks through to the curb on the outside right where you think you'll end up on the grass. Try to keep it at around 210mph and you should be doing fine for the next section. Klostertal (Top speed: 224mph TT, 212mph GT) --------------------------------- This is yet another place where it is easy to spin out if you turn too hard on a bad line, so turn early and then ease off the wheel on the exit of the right turn, and the car should remain relatively stable. Steilstrecken ------------- This tight curve is hidden by a crest that you will go over flat out, then brake just before the curb on the left and start to track to the inside right as you reach 4th and then 3rd. This is another curve that has a couple of apexes, and it seems like you will want to take the first in high 3rd gear and be up to 4th past the second apex into the straight. There are gentle bends leading to the next section but you can easily go straight and keep accelerating, just reaching 6th gear before dropping hard back to 3rd again. Karussell --------- This tight banked corner is easier to do correctly with the setup I used - the trick is to keep the car as inside as you can but not spin toward the middle, and keep the revs steady in 3rd, around 62mph, until you see where you pop over the last corner stone and start throttling hard toward the next section. Hohe Acht T7 3'06.028 (3'10.258) ---------------------- You should be high in 6th gear as you pass the first left-hander flat out, before dropping to 5th for the tight left-right toward the summit. Gas steady for the left keeping tight on the apex and don't steer too hard or you will be off the line for the right, which needs a small dab of brake to get the balance right over the crest at the exit, getting the revs in 5th a little higher than for the left. For the final downhill right turn you want to brake early down to 4th and get tight on the inside so you can be back on the throttle hard at the exit. Take the gentle left bend into the next section in 5th and up to 6th. Hedwigshohe ----------- Believe it or not you can take this flat in 6th if you get the right line, but you have to keep the car steady and smooth on the steering before you tap the brake at the exit and drop revs for the next curve. Getting this wrong will totally blow your balance into... Wipperman --------- This spot is an easy place to lose it because of the abrupt way that it goes downhill, and when I went to the real track we saw an accident here. This tricky left-right downhill is a lot easier in the Formula if you concentrate on keeping the car balanced, so in 6th gear try not to use too much curb for the left, and then clip some curb on the right. As you approach the crest, drop quickly to 4th for the next section. It is uphill, so braking too late will cause understeer that will probably put you on the grass as you go over the crest. Eschbach -------- You should be in 4th with medium revs as you come over the hill into this right hander, staying tight on the inside and hitting 5th as you start downhill on the exit. Brake somewhat early to drop back to 4th for the double left hander, which is another part where it is easy to lose the rear. Wait for the car to settle between apexes before you shift to 5th gear for the second apex. Then it's back to 4th for the next section. Brunnchen --------- This is another dance between 4th and 5th gears. The first right hander is very easy to overcook as it is downhill, and very often you will find yourself all the way to the left on the exit, almost into the grass. If you can keep just the left wheels on the curb you will still be able to get good throttle in 5th before the next right, again dropping to 4th for the turn and back to 5th as the car tracks to the outside of the exit (but be especially careful here, the sand will lose you a lot of time). There is a certain melody with the revs, dropping to 4th slightly lower each time. Eiskurve T8 3'34.627 (3'38.720) ---------------------- This left-hander is again taken in 4th, but it seems longer and goes into a tricky right hander on the exit. Start and maintain lower revs at your turn-in, and the line is something of a compromise. The pavement also crowns and is really easy to slide off to the left, so try to stay in the middle of the pavement as you accelerate into 5th and 6th gears for the next section. Pflanzgarten 1 -------------- This wavy little section can be taken flat, sticking to the basics but ending up slightly to the left as you go over the little jump at the bottom before the rather difficult double right-hander. It takes some confidence but keep it in 6th with just a dab of the brake before and after the crest and turn in to the right. Being in 6th already with medium revs will keep you accelerating nicely, but of course be as smooth as possible and no sudden steering changes as you head up the hill toward the next part. Sprunghugel ----------- This first left is another easy place to mess up and not be in the right position to track to the rumble strip on the right side of the exit. It is vital to keep hard on the throttle in 6th and try to get into 7th gear before going over the crest, staying to the left while going as straight as possible. This drop can be extremely unsettling to the car at this speed so go over it as straight as you can. Heading into the next section is where your interplay between steering and throttle should be very careful. Pflanzgarten 2 T9 3'48.614 (3'52.374) (Top speed: 212mph TT, 215mph GT) --------------------------------- This section is flat out in 7th and can be quite terrifying at this speed, since it is extremely easy to lose control if you try too hard to steer into the curves of the track. Drop into the first couple of right turns at 200mph, accelerating up to 212 or so by the end. Again, try not to push too hard on the throttle through here if you tend to work the steering; think of the technique for cone slalom and you should get the idea of how to balance these tricky curves while gaining speed. When you finally exit this section onto the straight, drop to 6th gear for the next bit. Schwalbenschwanz ---------------- This section feels like some dancing again, and is another spot where I frequently mess up either by overcooking the right, or by braking and turning too late on the left and ending up in the sand (once you start sliding it doesn't seem to matter how hard you brake and downshift). 6th works if you concentrate on a smooth entry and gentle line, getting this right easily dropped several tenths off my time. Then throttle for a beat on the straight, then to 4th for the left turn-in. Get 5th gear as you head on to the next part, where you will drop carefully to 3rd and concentrate hard on your line. Kleinekarussell --------------- The "little karussell" is one place where I still mess up now and then, but softer springs helps the car do this by dropping fully inside. I do this in 3rd and if I happen to nail the exit, shift early to 4th and throttle hard, through 5th, and into 6th as I approach the last really difficult part. The phrase "stay calm" repeats in my head at this point. Galgenkopf T10 4'16.935 (4'20.253) ----------------------- The trick is getting the right hand apex - you definitely do not want to hit the curb as you will almost certainly bounce and crash into the Armco, but if you go the slightest bit too wide you will not stay on the track. Dab the brakes in 6th and keep your throttle strong as you sweep over the bump at the apex, throttle harder as soon as the car settles into the turn, then just lift a bit when you see the track start to tighten to the right. You can throttle early as you track to the inside, and slowly accelerate and slide toward the outside onto the straight. You should soon pass under the Gantry and receive your T10 section time. Dottinger Hohe T11 4'34.005 (4'38.242) ----------------------- Not much to this - keep it flat in 7th and stick just off center to the right. The car should be reaching about 215mph as you start on the incline before the bridge, let the car go all the way right and then turn early so you can ease through the left hander, totally wide open. You will get the T11 section time as you pass under the bridge. Keep it flat out down the hill into the next section. Tiergarten (Top speed: 230mph TT, 216mph GT) --------------------------------- This section near the end leads to a left-right that you can take flat out in the Formula car, so don't lift or anything, just stick to the basics and go as fast as you can. Once you clear the right and are going straight, immediately drop two gears to 5th for the final section… Hohenrain L1 4'50.158 (4'54.582) ---------------------- I usually cut to the inside as much as I can for the left, and then drop from 5th down to 3rd for the right hander of the chicane, keeping the revs high but steady since this corner is an easy place to spoil what might have been a stellar lap time. Through the chicane I ride both kerbs, shifting to 4th for some brief acceleration, then drop back to 3rd as I track left to get ready for the final right-hander. Aim for the Armco at the apex and just miss it - don't go too wide as you make your last effort at throttling hard up the hill to the finish. You should just make 5th gear as you cross and get your final lap time. ========================= Addendum 1 - racing setup ========================= Recently I noticed that while my setup was great for practice, I could not reliably lap with this setup in real racing conditions (in the Formula GT or Family Cup races at Nurburgring). What I needed was another setup that made the car feel right during all phases of tire wear, fuel load, and other factors that come into play when other cars are involved. The following setup allows me to lap consistently, is somewhat forgiving of mistakes, and is comfortable, responsive, and better on tire wear: Brakes: 5, 4 Suspension: springs 11.1, 11.2; height 64, 64; compression 6, 6; toe 0 Transmission: same as practice setup Aids: none All others: default Best time: 5'00.495 (out lap 14 in Formula GT) Best out lap: see above Best 2-lap battle: 10'14.188 Best 15-lap GT: 1:18'43.642 (+2 laps on 2 slowest backmarkers) I was actually trying to get my best time on the final flying lap (which I set up by pitting early on lap 9 after lapping all the other cars) but did not do so. An out lap easily adds 2-3 seconds... ============================== Addendum 2 - sub-5'00 examples ============================== Time: 4'56.646 (best time with setup 1.3) T1 0'31.758 T7 3'11.342 T2 0'55.767 T8 3'39.820 T3 1'16.206 T9 3'53.759 T4 1'51.748 T10 4'22.256 T5 2'18.054 T11 4'40.336 T6 2'36.598 L1 4'56.646 Susp. 10.8, 10.9; 64, 64; 7, 7; toe 0 Trans. 18; 2nd 4.518, 3rd 3.287, 4th 2.489 5th 1.960, 6th 1.609, 7th 1.374 Aids off Note: using LFB Time: 4'57.962 (best time with setup 1.1) T1 0'31.598 T7 3'11.343 T2 0'55.547 T8 3'40.777 T3 1'16.218 T9 3'54.733 T4 1'51.673 T10 4'23.469 T5 2'18.496 T11 4'41.586 T6 2'37.084 L1 4'57.962 Notes: bumped armco at Karussell, big slides at Brunnchen and Adenauer Forst, some wheelspin errors. Susp. 12.9, 12.9; 62, 62; 4, 4; toe 0 Trans. 18; 2nd 4.522, 3rd 3.289, 4th 2.492 Aids off Time: 4'59.275 (time reported in version 1.0) T1 0'31.559 T7 3'12.465 T2 0'55.579 T8 3'42.141 T3 1'16.244 T9 3'56.346 T4 1'51.888 T10 4'24.620 T5 2'18.699 T11 4'42.841 T6 2'37.313 L1 4'59.275 Notes: lots of small errors but three major ones at Eschbach (grass), Kleinekarussell (missed banking), and Galgenkopf (grass); somehow didn't prove too costly in time. Settings modified from defaults (version 1.0): Suspension Spring rate: 13.2, 13.2 Ride height: 62, 62 Compression: 4, 4 Toe: 0, 0 Transmission: manual, gear ratio level 18 Driving aids: 0, 0, 0 =========================== Addendum 3 - lap milestones =========================== Recently I decided to start counting just how many laps I've done at this unbelievably challenging and enriching circuit. I found it interesting that most people's advice is absolutely correct: that it takes about 100 laps just to consider oneself minimally familiar with the track. But refining from there can take exponentially more practice... Incidentally I do not count the 24-hour or 4-hour endurance races, or anything else I b-spec'd, nor do I count a number of arcade laps that would be hard to tally accurately (perhaps 40-50?) when I was going for maximum points or just looking for new ways to challenge myself. Or the dozen or so laps at Ringhaus. I started counting arcade laps only recently when going for time attacks. I also didn't count any of those pesky late-nite frustrating partial spin-and-bounce-off-Armco-screw-this-hit-restart laps. Lap 85 (est.): New record practice - 5'29.297 Lap 100 (est.): Family cup time - 5'26.672 Lap 185: Beat Mission 34 - 9'12.394 Lap 262: First honest win, Formula GT 15-lap - 5'16.026 Lap 270: Broke 5'10 in practice - 5'09.297 Lap 400: Made 5'00 in practice - 5'00.897 Lap 410: Break 5'00 in practice - 4'59.715 Lap 431: Break 5'10 in Formula GT 15-lap - 5'07.514 Lap 600 (est.): Visited Nurburgring for real in August 2007 Lap 660: Made 4'55 in practice - 4'55.491 Lap 800: Made 5'00 in Formula GT 15-lap - 5'00.871 Lap 975: Break 4'55 in practice - 4'54.708 Lap 1000: New record practice - 4'54.582 Lap 1050: New record arcade - 4'50.158 ============================ Addendum 4 - experimentation ============================ Balance and traction are two elements that always lead me to tinker with the car setup in the eternal quest for going faster. Frustration be damned, I always hope that the changes won't require much adjustment to driving style, and will somehow just magically "feel better" which will in turn produce more confident driving and thus faster lap times. Of course, with such a long track it still takes a relatively long time to adjust entirely and actually get a lap with few enough mistakes to break a record. Muscle memory is a funny thing, and often you can play forever on a late night and never even complete a full lap, go to bed frustrated, then wake up the next day and nail it in two or three tries. Suspension settings always seem to be the place I'm fiddling with to try and get better balance and traction. Spring rates are naturally a big area - on bumpy courses like the Nurburgring it can be very difficult to get the right setting. The spectrum is of course: Too hard, lose traction from bouncing; too soft, lose traction from poor contact. Also, the softer the springs, the slower the car reacts and the easier it is for your correction timing to be off. Also, shock absorber (damper) compression frequently comes into play - there are several combinations of springs and dampers that will feel roughly equal in the steering wheel but will have subtle but different effects on handling. The quest for mechanical grip is just endless, but I'm always hoping to refine my driving style so I can tolerate a stiffer suspension and still drive the same lines and ride the kerbs whenever I need to as I would in any other car. The other area I decided to fiddle with is the interaction of front downforce with rear toe. The idea was to gain some handling through lower speed corners while taking away some nervousness through high-speed corners. I think I was also going for a more even tire wear during family cup races, although I'm not sure if it made a big difference. Ultimately I had to abandon this since it seemed to make the car handle unnaturally through medium speed corners (imagine the feeling of simultaneous understeer and oversteer), which make up a large part of the 'ring. Gearing is another area I will sometimes play with, but less often and in most instances it was more of a guess than anything. Usually the adjustment is specific to particular corners where I keep hitting the limiter. ================== Thanks for reading ================== There you have it! I must say it took a huge number of attempts on each day that I actually moved my time. If you've ever seen a Formula 1 practice session you know that the drivers will go off or spin out fairly often while they are trying to push hard and find the absolute limit of the car, track, and their skill on that day. It is amazing how you can do better or worse in completely different sections and end up with an almost identical time. As heartbreaking as it is to have a lapse of concentration that destroys what could have been a huge lead over your previous best time, try to remember that it is difficult to push the limit that you already achieved by pushing your limit. It's never going to be perfect - sometimes when you update your time splits some of them may move forward instead of back. Determination is one of the more important qualities of racing so stay loose, and don't let yourself get angry or frustrated, since this will only make you race even worse. Relax, have fun, and you will be elated when the moment finally happens. Thanks for reading, I hope this has helped or entertained you in some way! ++++++++++++