LE MANS 24 HOURS: PETIT LE MANS GUIDE by Wolf Feather/Jamie Stafford FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM Current Version: FINAL Final Version Completed: May 5, 2002 Initial Version Completed: December 25, 2001 ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== JOIN THE FEATHERGUIDES E-MAIL LIST: To be the first to know when my new and updated guides are released, join the FeatherGuides E-mail List. Go to http://www.coollist.com/group.cgi?l=featherguides for information about the list and to subscribe for free. ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== CONTENTS Spacing and Length Permissions Introduction Comparison with Le Mans 2000 Time Compression Suggested Car Set-ups General Tips Circuit Overview Circuit Details Contact ==================================== SPACING AND LENGTH For optimum readability, this driving guide should be viewed/printed using a monowidth font, such as Courier. Check for appropriate font setting by making sure the numbers and letters below line up: 1234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012 ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ==================================== PERMISSIONS This guide may ONLY be posted on FeatherGuides, GameFAQs.com, PSXCodez.com, F1Gamers, Cheatcc.com, Absolute- PlayStation.com, InsidePS2Games.com, RedCoupe, gamesover.com, CheatPlanet.com, The Cheat Empire, a2zweblinks.com, Gameguru, Games Domain, cheatingplanet.com, vgstrategies.com, RobsGaming.com, hellzgate, ps2fantasy.com, and neoseeker.com. Permission is granted to download and print one copy of this game guide for personal use. ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== INTRODUCTION The Petit Le Mans is held annually in October at the full 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit. The race itself ends after a car has achieved 1000 miles or 10 hours, whichever comes first. The 2002 incarnation of Petit Le Mans will be the fifth such race; according to the Road Atlanta official Web site, it 'will again be the season finale for the American Le Mans Series, and takes on added importance since the race winners earn automatic bids to the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans. ... The Audi presents Petit Le Mans ranks among the most important sports car races in the world, joining the ranks of the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.' While I have written a general guide covering virtually all aspects of Le Mans 24 Hours, I am submitting this race- specific game guide to delve even more into one of the rising jewels of endurance racing. Some of the information provided herein comes from my Le Mans 24 Hours Game Guide. Also, whereas LM24H has several modes (including Quick Race and Time Trial), this guide focuses specifically on the longer, 100-minute and 10-hour Petit Le Mans races at the full Road Atlanta circuit. ==================================== COMPARISON WITH LE MANS 2000 The 24 Hours of Le Mans, held annually in July, is the other major endurance race included in Le Mans 24 Hours. Personally, I far prefer Petit Le Mans for two reasons: 1.) The Road Atlanta circuit is FAR shorter, with lap times averaging about 1:10.000 in a Prototype car; 2.) Since the Road Atlanta circuit is far shorter, there is A LOT more passing involved - rarely does a lap go by without making at least one pass, and usually three or more passes are common per lap. These two points converge to make Petit Le Mans a much more intensive race on the brain, thus helping to keep focus. Le Mans 2000, on the other hand, is not nearly as intensive on the brain. At over 8 miles in length, the Le Mans circuit is so long that it is quite possible to drive for several laps without needing to make a single pass. Second, the first four-fifths of the circuit is constructed primarily with super-lengthy straightaways, lulling the mind into a state on numbness by the time you reach the highly-technical final stage of the circuit. If nothing else, a full 24-hour race at Le Mans is a test of extreme concentration. Inclement weather aside, the other major point of comparison is the psychological impact of the two races due to daytime and nighttime conditions. Petit Le Mans begins at 12:30PM and ends at 10:30PM the same day, so the amount of time spent in nighttime driving is essentially minimal. Le Mans, however, begins at 4PM on Saturday and ends at 4PM on Sunday, so a significant portion of the race (approximately 10 hours) is held at night; even though I personally prefer nighttime to daytime in the real world (I generally do the bulk of my work late at night), I find that racing through such an extended period of darkness is mentally taxing; even worse is the seemingly-interminable period of approximately 10 hours of daylight before the end of the race. Even though a trip to Pit Lane allows each race to be saved at that point, long breaks between game sessions still do not help to alleviate the mental destruction resulting from a full race at Le Mans. ==================================== TIME COMPRESSION Players can compete in the Petit Le Mans at four different time increments: 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 100 minutes, and the full ten-hour race. At each time increment, the race begins at 12:30PM and ends at 10:30PM, including the appropriate transition from daylight to darkness. Except for the full ten-hour race, this means that time must be compressed. For those interested, the time compression works in this manner (if my math is correct): Time Interval: 10 minutes 30 minutes 100 minutes 10 hours 1 second = 1 minute 20 seconds 6 seconds 1 second 1 minute = 1 hour 20 minutes 6 minutes 1 minute 1 hour = N/A N/A 6 hours 1 hour ==================================== SUGGESTED CAR SET-UPS Le Mans 24 Hours provides three car classes for Petit Le Mans: Open Prototype, Closed prototype, and GT. A suggested car set-up is provided for GT class cars, and both Open and Closed Prototype class cars combined (as I find very little difference between Closed prototype and Open Prototype cars in terms of handling). These suggestions are for dry- conditions racing; wet-conditions racing requires Wet Tires, and a raise in downforce if needed to suit your personal driving style. First, however, an explanation of the set-up options is needed. Explanations Fuel: Lower fuel loads will provide a faster overall top speed initially due to the lesser overall weight of the car. Conversely, a higher fuel load will slow the car initially while allowing the car to stay on the circuit for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, it is impossible to adjust initial fuel load for the races :-( In a four-hour race at Petit Le Mans, each lap will consume approximately four percent of the fuel load; each lap in a full ten-hour race requires two percent of fuel. Downforce: Low downforce provides a faster top-end speed while making cornering more difficult. High downforce gives easier cornering while lowering overall top-end speed. Tires: Soft Tires provide the most grip of the pavement, but wear out faster than other tires, resulting in more trips to Pit Lane to change tires. Hard Tires provide the least grip of the dry-conditions tires while lasting the longest, resulting in fewer trips to Pit Lane. Should the track become damp or wet, 'slick' (Soft and Hard) tires quickly become useless. Wet Tires are for very wet conditions, when your car emits a 'rooster tail' of spray at high speeds. If it has been raining or has just started to rain and there is no 'rooster tail' behind your car, Intermediate Tires are a good choice; however, do not waste the time changing to and from Intermediate Tires unless your opinion of the clouds is that Intermediate Tires will be needed for more than one or two laps. Gear Ratio: An Acceleration setting will provide maximum acceleration for the car. Top Speed provides slower acceleration, but the car's top-end speed will be much higher. Balance is the 'middle ground' setting. Engine: A Sprint Engine will help boost your car through the field in shorter races, and can be useful in the 10-minute, 30-minute, and 100-minute Petit Le Mans race. However, for the full 10-hour race, only an Endurance Engine will provide the long-lasting power required to finish the race. Balance is a 'middle ground' position, and is also a good choice for the 100-minute race at Petit Le Mans. Open Prototype Class AND Closed Prototype Class Fuel: 50% Downforce: Low Tires: Soft Gear Ratio: Top Speed Engine: Sprint for the 100-minute race; Endurance for the full 10-hour race Notes: Prototype cars are inherently faster than GT cars. The suggested settings will help to quickly pass the Prototype cars as well, especially when taking on only a 50% fuel load. The low downforce setting will provide excellent top-end speed through the S curves, and down the 'back side' of the circuit toward the chicane. The 50% initial fuel load fits well with Soft Tires, as Soft Tires will start giving out about the time you will need to return to Pit Lane to refuel anyhow. GT Class Fuel: 80% Downforce: Low Tires: Hard Gear Ratio: Top Speed Engine: Sprint for the 100-minute race; Endurance for the full 10-hour race Notes: In general, see the notes for the Prototype Class, above. However, I find that GT cars have better handling with more fuel, thus making the car a bit heavier and the back end less likely to slide around on cornering at high speeds. Hard Tires will then allow the car to stay on the circuit longer, as the car will begin with a heavier fuel load; however, Hard Tires provide the least amount of grip, so more care must be given, especially when cornering. Note #1: It is not impossible for a GT Class car to win a full Petit Le Mans race outright, beating even all the Open Prototype Class AND Closed Prototype Class cars. This will depend upon the settings selected for a GT Class car, pit strategy, and the game parameters (in terms of driving aids and AI Skill). Note #2: Cars in all classes do tend to fishtail; this is especially significant in GT Class vehicles. As such, heavier fuel loads tend to reduce the fishtail effect. Unless extreme care is afforded the tires, the rear tires will wear out faster, which can itself aid the fishtailing effect. Be especially wary of fishtailing when running over rumble strips while turning (and when cornering at fast speeds, especially in wet conditions). ==================================== GENERAL TIPS ALWAYS keep an eye on your fuel usage. If you run out of fuel somewhat early in a lap, you may not make it back to Pit Lane without placing yourself just right to be bumped from behind or making use of a downhill slope to help gain speed. Pit Lane is at the lowest elevation on the circuit, which keeps climbing uphill all the way to the Pit Lane (not used for Petit Le Mans) on the opposite end of the circuit. Petit Le Mans features both full-throttle straightaways and S-Curves tempered with tight technical corners and slopes. As such, tire wear is a critical issue, especially in wet conditions - poor tire grip means sliding off the pavement in tight corners or driving too fast through the S-Curves for the tires to adequately grip the pavement. For more specific tips on tire usage, please read the full Le Mans 24 Hours Game Guide, and/or also look at my Gran Turismo 3: Tires Guide. To pass, use the draft; this is especially effective in Open Prototype and Closed Prototype cars. The best place to draft other cars is along the 'back stretch' of the circuit, from the alternate Pit Lane (not used in Petit Le Mans) to the chicane. If you do not choose to qualify, you will automatically start in last place; therefore, you have nothing to lose and A LOT to gain by qualifying. If you can qualify on Pole, that can mean twenty-three FEWER passes you will need to make as a race progresses. In the longer (100-minute and 10-hour) Petit Le Mans races, this could become a significant factor, especially in relation to Pit strategy. If you are in first place and begin lapping other cars, those cars one or more laps behind you will have blue indicators on the track map. If at all possible, do not go to Pit Lane with a pack of competitors. If there is another car directly in front of you, the CPU will slow you to a near halt while that car slots into its Pit Stall. Similarly, once your Pit Stop has been completed, if there are any cars passing your position, the CPU will hold you there until they ALL pass, even if it appears that there is plenty of room for you to slot into the line of cars. The CPU-controlled cars can and DO make mistakes. In their battles against each other for position, they often trade paint, and sometimes even run each other off the track. The most common area for this latter is the top of the circuit, between Turns 9 and 10; this is especially important to remember at night, when visibility can be tricky. ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== CIRCUIT OVERVIEW The full Road Atlanta circuit combines long fast segments with technical corners and slopes. Part of the mystique of the circuit is its construction; similar to A1-Ring in Austria, Pit Straight is the lowest elevation of the circuit, with the beginning and end of the circuit both on steep slopes. The first twenty seconds of a hot lap are spent in a forested area; the rest of the lap features rather open space to the inside of the circuit, providing plenty of natural light on a cloudless day or a moonlit night. However, the forested section can also produce some nasty shadows, making the nearly-blind corners even more difficult to spot if there is no traffic just ahead. In a rainstorm, whether during the day or at night, the circuit can quickly turn into a sheet of ice. The trick in wet conditions is to expertly regulate the use of both the brakes and the accelerator, especially on the steep slopes. Just as important is pit strategy to change to/from Wet or Intermediate Tires; therefore, if playing with Weather set to Random, always keep an eye on the sky, especially at the upper and lower ends of the circuit, to better anticipate how the weather may change. ==================================== CIRCUIT DETAILS The Road Atlanta circuit - host circuit of Petit Le Mans - is perhaps most famous for its final turns, a blind right-hand corner on a severe downhill slope beginning just as the cars pass underneath Suzuki Bridge, followed by a fast right-hand corner onto the Pit Straight. Good speeds overall can be obtained at Road Atlanta, but there are still a number of challenging corners to tax the drivers and their cars. Pit Straight: This is the point of lowest elevation on the circuit. Turn 1: This seemingly-neverending J-turn begins the circuit's long uphill climb; the first two-thirds of the turn is rather significant, with the radius slowly increasing for the last third of the corner as the course climbs steeply uphill. Light braking is suggested here, and perhaps even moderate braking will be preferred by many players, but it is possible to speed through Turn 1 at top speed with NO braking at approximately 140MPH. However, with little or no braking, if you do not have sufficient tire grip, you will definitely slide out into the grass and bang the barrier on the outside of Turn 1. If you have an oversteer condition, expect to spin right at Pit Exit (at the end of the significant portion of the turn), and just hope that no one is coming out of Pit Lane at that very moment!!! If competing in the Petit Le Mans during the nighttime stage of the race, the light on the inside of Turn 3 ahead can overpower the glare from competitors' taillights as you climb the steep hill out of Turn 1 and into Turn 2, thus causing you to misjudge the distance to the next vehicle in front of you and potentially contributing to an incident, so exercise great caution here (moreso than usual) when racing at night. Turns 2-4: At a momentary plateau in track elevation, the left-right-left semi-chicane can be a surprise. The apex of Turn 2 is unsighted on entry. Turn 2 requires at least light braking to keep on the pavement. Turn 3 requires moderate braking, although light braking is possible if you drop the right-side tires in the small patch of sand on the inside of Turn 3. Turn 4 can often be taken at top speed, although light braking may be necessary to stay on the pavement. With fresh tires and excellent reflexes, this complex can be taken at top speed, but be ready to countersteer and/or slam on the brakes, especially when exiting Turn 4. This complex is also one of the areas where CPU-controlled cars are likely to spin out or otherwise run off-course and throw a lot of vision- obscuring dust into the air, so be constantly wary here. Turns 5-7 (S Curves): The course begins a gentle downhill slope just before the entry of Turn 5, a right-hand corner which can be taken flat-out. Turn 6 begins the next uphill stage as the pavement turns to the left; again, this can be taken at top speed. The right-hand Turn 7 can also be taken at top speed, however, it is best to begin braking for Turn 8 here. Turn 8: This is the second-nastiest place on the full Road Atlanta circuit. This blind left-hand corner requires moderate or severe braking as the hill (now a mini-mountain) climbs steeply, cresting just beyond the exit of Turn 8. If you miss the braking zone, you will find yourself in a sand trap. If you can get past that, however, there is another paved road which will rejoin the official course. If you get beyond THAT, however, you will bang a barrier which is practically flush up against the access road. Only experts will be able to successfully clear this nasty corner (if not blocked by other cars) at over 100MPH/160KPH; some cars can semi-safely clear this corner at 120MPH/190KPH in the final laps before refueling. Straightaway: The mini-mountain crests shortly beyond the exit of Turn 8. In terms of elevation, this straightaway is essentially a roller-coaster ride, but the general trend is slightly downhill. Turn 9: Moderate braking for this ninety-degree right-hand corner is required, but there is kitty litter to the outside of the corner to collect you if you miss the braking zone. There are two pieces of pavement turning right here; the first is the sealed-off Pit Entry for other racing series, so do not use the first turn-off. Turn 10: After a very short straightaway, the course again makes a ninety-degree right-hand turn here. Moderate braking is again required to keep out of the grassy recovery area to the outside of the corner. Straightaway: This 'straightaway' has several fades along its length. After the first fade to the left, the course resumes an uphill slope. Beginning with the repaved section just after the fade to the right, the course begins its overall downhill trend. Turns 11-12 (Chicane): This nasty left-right chicane requires plenty of advance braking, or you will be caught out in the grass/sand/barrier-filled zone on the inside of Turn 12. Be careful not to run wide exiting Turn 12, as the outside of Turn 12 also has plenty of sand to stop runaway vehicles. Experts will be able to keep up a fairly fast speed through the chicane by cutting both turns slightly short and rolling up into the grass, but only with a flawless racing line and excellent tire grip. Turn 13: This is by far the nastiest place on the circuit. As you pass underneath Suzuki Bridge, the course has its most significant elevation drop, resulting in cars lightening to the point that - depending on your speed and racing line - they may momentarily leave the ground!!!!! This is a blind right-hand corner (due to the significant elevation drop) which can actually be taken at full-throttle, but light braking is really the preferred method of success here (at the very least, be prepared to suddenly jam on the brakes anyhow, just in case). Edge to the right as you approach Suzuki Bridge and you should be okay; if you carry enough speed, by running your right-tide tires just off the pavement, the momentary lifting of your car will allow you to clear the small grass/sand patch without ever toughing the ground, thus without any loss of speed. However, Pit Entry is on the right just beyond Suzuki Bridge, so beware of slowing cars. If you do have trouble here, make use of the 'extra' paved lanes on the left (which actually go to a Pit Lane used for other racing series) until you can edge back onto the official course. One note of caution: If you go airborne and hit the right-side wall just right, the car can completely flip over, in which case it generally slides down toward the outside of Turn 14 and comes to rest against a tire barrier. Turn 14: This is the final, right-hand corner of the circuit. Unless encumbered by traffic, this corner can be taken at top acceleration (beginning with the exit of Chicane). ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== INFORMATION ON THE WEB For more information on Petit Le Mans, visit these Web sites: Petit Le Mans - Photo Flashbacks from '98/'99: From the FastDetails.com Web site http://www.fastdetails.com/alms/oldplmpics.htm Petit Le Mans Radio Web: Listed on Yahoo!, but the server does not respond as of the writing of this guide http://www.petitlemans.com/ Professional Sports Car Racing, Inc.: Official Web site of the governing body for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), which hosts Petit Le Mans http://www.professionalsportscar.com/ Road Atlanta: Official Web site of the host circuit of Petit Le Mans http://www.roadatlanta.com/ ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== CONTACT For rants, raves, etc., contact me at FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM; also, if you have enjoyed this guide and feel that it has been helpful to you, I would certainly appreciate a small donation via PayPal (http://www.paypal.com/) using the above e-mail address. To find the latest version of this and all my other PSX/PS2 game guides, visit FeatherGuides at http://www.angelcities.com/members/feathersites/ ==================================== ==================================== ==================================== ======================================================================= Wolf Feather Jamie Stafford ======================================================================= Just as there are many parts needed to make a human a human, there's a remarkable number of things needed to make an individual what they are. - Major Kusanagi, _Ghost in the Shell_ ======================================================================= What isn't remembered never happened. - _Serial Experiments Lain_ =======================================================================