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Library: guide


Author: Lum
Date:Jul 25 1998

(picking a vehicle)
  You start out with 10K, which offers you some choice among the low-end
vehicles.  You want to buy something that is appropiate to your skills.  If
you have no real performance-driving experience, you should try to acquire a
used honda civic, or another lightweight FF car.  If have some understanding
of performance driving, you can possibly choose an FR car like the R32 Skyline
or such.  

(a summary of things to look at when choosing a car)
  The most important thing is the engine location and the drive.  There are
substantial differences in handling between FF, FR, 4WD, and MR cars.  An FF
car is generally easy to control and responsive, runs decently over most
terrain, and is generally lightweight, but the cornering can't be done as
sharply as FR cars.  FR cars are a little heavier, have a tendency to spin out
if not handled properly, but allow you to slide and break around corners if
done properly.  MR cars handle like FR cars, except for increased agility and
a tendency to spin out more.  4WD cars work best on rough terrain, and while
heavy, can combine the responsiveness and stability of FF cars with the
improved cornering of FR cars.
  Next, look at weight.  Lightweight is always preferable.  A heavy car tends
to be sluggish when accelerating and corner poorly.
  Look at engine power.  You need at least 125 hp on an FF car, or 150 minimum
on an FR car.  But more always helps.  
  Look at the car's info.  If it says the car requires a lot of expertise to
use, then skip over it at first.
  Finally, consider the upgrade possibilities.  Is the engine turbo or NA, and
how much can it be upgraded.  This determines your maximum power.  Some very
good cars only allow level 1 engine upgrades, which blunts their high-end

  Cornering is the most important part to learn well.  Anyone can handle the
straightaways, the only skill in this is car positioning and making sure the
drive wheels don't spin.
  FF cars should slow down to a slow speed before the turn.  Then turn the
wheels, and accelerate.  Accelerating giving power to the front wheels
actually helps you turn, since the car is front-wheel drive. The worse thing
you can do is brake when you enter the turn, this will actually hamper your
cornering.  But you don't want to accelerate too hard either, or you're front
wheels will lose traction.  In general, you have to enter the turn a bit
slower than an FR car for this reason, and the fact that all the weight in an
FF car is toward the front.
  An FR car needs to slow down to a medium speed before the turn and continue
to apply the break lightly throughought the whole turn.  You want to turn
sharply and early, finishing the turn as soon as possible.  Once you are
heading due out of the turn, accelerate lightly while moving the wheels back
to the center position, and once the car is stable floor it.  
If you execute the turn perfectly, you should not have to counter-steer to
straighten the car at all.  Use the acceleration of the vehicle combined with
straightening the wheels to stop the vehicle from turning.  
  A 4WD car is closer to an FF car than an FR car, but you can attempt either
tecnique or some combination of both.  A MR car is like an FR car, but you
need to be very careful of oversteer and spinning out.

(spinning out)
  This happens in rear-wheel drive cars.  It is possible in FF or 4WD cars,
but only with absolutely horrible driving or extremely high speeds.  
  If you begin to spin out, the worst thing you can do is something sudden,
especially flooring it.  If there is road in the direction you have begin to
spin, and the spin is light, you can often times accelerate out of it. 
Countersteer, slightly, and lightly press the accelerator.  If this slows your
spinning, then floor it.  If it doesn't, you shouldn't do any hard braking,
but instead attempt this rather difficult manuever -- what do you have to
lose.  Lightly brake until you're facing trafic, and then accelerate and
countersteer.  If you're real lucky, you might pick right back up in a
straight line.  If not, there's nothing you can do, just slam on the brakes
and stop fully, find the road, and get moving again. Spinning out isn't good,
it generally means you lose the race, if it's reasonably close.  So you really
want to use good driving tecnique and look for the early warning signs to just
avoid it altogether.

(What to upgrade)
The most important thing to upgrade, FR cars especially, is the tires.  A lot
of the more high-end cars practially require this upgrade to realize their
full potential.
  Next, comes the suspension and stabilizers, both these help a great deal
around corners, making for higher speed and sharper turns.  Weight reduction
is important, especially in heavier models.  Upgrading the air filter is the
cheapest way to add power to the engine.  Finally, the adjustable racing
gearbox can let you make use of all of the cars gears.  
  The rest of the options are useful also.  The one thing to beware of is
turbo engine upgrades.  At higher levels, these have considerable lag and no
power whatsoever on the low end.  This means that once you stop (if you spin
out or such), you are basically out of the race.  The best way to get started
again is to hold the emergency brake (This pops the clutch automatically) and
floor it, waiting for the engine to get up to maximum revs, and then release
the emergency brake, which will throw it into first gear.  Even so, this takes
2 seconds, and the car still accelerates slowly on the low-end.

  A good knowledge of the game physics can also help.  Since the cars don't
take damage, you can use this to your advantage.  For instance, if you're in
1st and spin out, try to position yourself facing forward and directly in
front of one of the other cars.  As it hits your rear, you will instantly
accelerate, I've gotten from 0 to 70 this way.  It depends on your cars
weight, but this can put you back in the race.  The other tactic to use is to
take a moderately sharp turn much too fast and on the inside, but bounce off a
car and end up heading right out of the turn in the right direction.  This has
the added advantage of knocking the other car right off the track.  The only
other instance is to slow down quickly around the turns by rear-ending another
car.  This will slow you down significantly and speed him up, causing him to
spin out if he has to go into a turn right then.

(more on spins)
To avoid spins, don't accelerate around turns on an FR car.  Accelerating
while you're still making the turn is what causes most spins.  Also, right
away, if your wheels even start to slip, let up on the controls instantly. 
Don't try to muscle your way out of a spin at first.  If they keep slipping,
then you're in bad shape, follow the instructions before.

(notable cars)
Toyota's Supra has an ultra-powerful Turbo engine that can be tuned to the max
(level 4).  Combined with its six gear, this makes it one of the fastest cars
in the game, easily able to reach speeds of 250+ mph.

The Nissan R32
Skyline GTS 25 type S is a solid but unexemplary FR car that can be found used
for under 10K.  So, it's a good car for beginners who think they cn handle an
FR car as their first.

The honda civic is an excellent beginners car for someone who hasn't ever
driven, or driven for performance before.

NSX type S Zero is a high speed MR car, with a fast an powerful engine.

Eunos Roadster by Mazda is a bit low on power, but very agile, and responsive.
It's good to learn the fundementals of FR driving in.

The Subaru Impreza is a lightweight 4WD car (as 4WD cars go) with decent power
and other good all-around performance.


(car settings)

It's very important to set the car's settings properly before the race.

Gearbox:  In general, high acceleration is better than a high maximum speed. 
For NA engines, make the early gears cover as much speed range as possible, to
make the later gears closer together.  For high-level turbo engines, you want
to keep the gears within a small rpm ranger (look at the engine torque / power
graph to see where the engine has sufficient power). 

Stabilizers, suspension:  You always want these as hard as you can make them
without going overboard.  If they are too hard, the car will shake like crazy
(they're made to absorb the shaking) at high speeds and such.

Brakes:  The front brakes should be a little stronger than the rear ones.  But
neither should be set anywhere close to the maximum level.

Downforce:  To begin corners easier, put some downforce on the front tires. 
This puts more weight on the front wheels, even when accelerating.  But, since
the back tires have less weight, you have problems with hard acceleration,
especially when coming out of a turn.  Putting downforce on the back makes it
harder to initiate a turn, but it also means you can accelerate harder and
sooner once the car has made the turn.  This is the effect with (FR) cars only
above.  The effect is less pronounced with 4WD cars, and with (FF) cars you
should probably just leave the downforce alone.

(more on turns)
Other than what has already been mentioned, another important thing on turns
is to take the "best racing line" through the turn.  Approaching the turn, you
want to move to the outside.  As soon as possible, cut the turn narrow and
turn as sharply as possible, just missing the inside of the road.  Let up on
the brakes and start to accelerate.  When a turn has a long straightaway after
it, this is especially important, since you want to have the best speed coming
out on the turn.  

(more cars)
The GTO '95 MR (which you can only find used) is a poor car at first, due to
being overweight and having narrow-range engine.  With a better gearbox and
some other vital modifications like weight reduction, this 4WD car becomes one
of the fastest accelerators in the game if you use a configurable gearbox to
keep the engine range minimal. 

The Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport (?) is an excellent car that runs smoothly
with its reasonably powerful non-turbo engine.  Though a little heavy, it has
6 gears and performs reasonably well around the corners, even at high speeds. 
The steering system in this car is superior, it has a wide steering range and
is very responsive, yet not unstable.

The Dodge Viper has the most powerful non-turbo engine in the game.  Again, it
is a little heavy, but its extra-thick tires help it when cornering at high
speeds so long as you drive with good tecnique.

The TVR Griffith (or any TVR car) is only for experienced drivers.  This car
ultra-lightweight and can be brought down to far under 1800 lbs.  The
non-turbo engine is extremely powerful for such a lightweight car, giving it
excellent acceleration.  Also, such a lightweight car can take all the corners
at higher speed.  But the car has poor traction, and is quite unstable.  If
you make one slip around a turn, you will go spinning out.

(more downforce)
These are the settings for how to use downforce.  On a lightweight FR car, put
lots of downforce on both the front and back, like full front and 3/4ths rear.
On a powerful FR car, put about half to 2/3rd on the front, and full rear. 
For a FF car, put some on the front and none whatsoever on the rear, or leave
both at the minimum setting.  For a MR car, put full rear and no more than
1/3rd front.  For a 4WD car, keep both the front and rear the same, and vary
them according to the track.  You almost always want downforce, it does help
and give you that little extra stability esp. on an FR car.  The only time you
don't want any downforce is on the test course in the ultra-speed races, or if
you're doing the maximum speed / 1000M / 400M trials.

(other suspension settings)
Changing the ride height and the spring settings -- you just have to
experiment to find the best for a particular car, can help change the weight
balance during standard running and breaking.  For instance, if I have to
break too hard before the front wheels get traction, I will make the springs
on the front wheels harder.  I could raise the springs a bit too, but you
generally want to keep the wheel height as low as possible, the lower it is
the less you'll roll when you turn sharply.  How you adjust these depends on
your driving style and on the capability of your car.  If your car doesn't
have enough high-end power, harden the front-wheel springs so you don't have
to break so hard around corners.  If your car has pleanty of high-end power,
loosen them up a bit so you can brake later going into and going around the
turns and not lose control.  For the rear ones, you generally want them as
hard as possible, so you can apply power quicker out of a turn.  The only
thing you have to beware of is making the springs or the damper setting too
high on a bumpy road like the deep forest one, if you do this your car will
start to vibrate like crazy and you'll lose traction and engine power.

Sliding is a "special case" type of driving, mostly for expert drivers.  The
manual talks about this some, but  doesn't really tell a whole lot of
specifics.  "Sliding" is the term used for when the back wheels of the car
actually lose traction (purposely), and the back end swings around further
than it normally would.

Sliding is something you can really only do effectively in a FR car.  It's
possible in an MR car (but these tend to spin out) or a 4WD car (without too
much difficulty, so long as it's not too heavy) but if you don't know what
you're doing, you'll just spin out.  The best kind of car to practice sliding
in at first is a light, not-so-powerful car like the Eunos Roadster (Miata). 
It's really simple, just link the emergency brake to R1.  As you go around a
turn, keep the throttle at full turn the wheel.  You'll go into understeer
(b'cos you haven't slowed down).  Tap the emergency brake, this will pop the
clutch (maxing out your engine speed) and apply full brakes to the back
wheels, causing them to lose traction with the road.  That's all, really.  The
tricky part is to tap the emergency brake for just the right amount of time,
and also it gets much more complicated when you're in a more powerful car. 
If you tap the emergency brake for too long, you'll have to countersteer to
avoid spinning out.  It just takes practice.  Once you perfect it with a
roadster, try using this tecnique with a more powerful, lightweight car like
the griffith.  

There are also thing you can do to the car settings (less rear downforce,
etc.) to encourage or discourage sliding.

(The two different race strategies)
Everything else aside, there are two main types of cars -- ones that can
accelerate quickly and ones that can't.

When driving a ultra-powerful car, you want to make a turn as early as
possible.  And it doesn't matter how much you slow down around around the
turn, just so long as you make the turn tight and finish it as early as
possible, so you can start accelerating.  If all the cars are very powerful,
you want to finish the turn before everyone else does so you have more room to
accelerate.  For this kind of car, keep your downforce on the rear, not the
front.  You want to come up on the corner as fast as possible, slow to a safe
speed as quickly as possible, make the sharpest possible turn (while
continuing to slow down), and then get back on the accelerator, all as quickly
as you can.  The more rear downforce (and less front downforce) you have, the
harder you'll be able to brake without spinning out from oversteer (assuming
you car isnt an FF car).   The more braking you can do during the turn the
less you have to do before, and therefore you save crucial time this way.

For a non-powerful car, you want to try to go around the turn at the best
possible speed.  You must master the proper "racing line", you know starting
at the far outside of the turn, cutting it close to the inside and then
swinging back to outside (all while turning).  Weight reduction is important,
as is tire grip.  And make sure you don't go off the road, this can really
slow you down.  For this kind of car, put your downforce on the front.  This
gives you the effect of braking (additional traction) around a turn even if
you don't brake or slightly accelerate.  But watch for spinning out around
corners, putting full front downforce (and no rear) makes your rear tires lose
traction and start spinning easily.