Basic driving guides

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Simple driving tips

  • Use your brakes in good time when you are approaching a corner. It is in fact faster to take a corner at a safe speed, rather than braking late and hard (which could cause you to run off the track or run wide, off the racing line).
  • Hard braking also causes flat spots to occur on your tyres, significantly reducing grip and possibly leading to blowouts. Also avoid driving on grass and dirt, as this also reduces grip.
  • Be gentle with your throttle when you are driving a rear wheel drive car. Applying too much throttle too quickly will cause you to spin out when you exit corners.
  • Be very careful in the first corner of the race, especially when starting from the back. You will probably have to brake much earlier than you are used to, because of cars piling up in front of you. The first turn is the most dangerous one in a race, be careful, don't ruin your or (even worse) the race of others. Of course this also applies for all other corners where heavy braking is needed - just take a mental note, that for every car in front of you, you have to start braking a bit earlier than usual.
  • Practice makes perfect. Drivers who win races do so because they put in the time and effort into learning the track and their cars.

Online racing etiquette

  • Don't spam: There is no need to repeat a message over and over. Other racers will be annoyed by you. It's rude and there is simply no use in doing that. Even if you are angry or you have the right to be angry, never spam!
  • If you get BLUE FLAG displayed on the screen, it means a player who is one or more laps ahead of you is attempting to pass. You must let this player past you without competing with him or unduly hindering his progress. It is debatable whether or not to leave the racing line, that is your choice. The most important thing is to be predictable. Don't make any sudden maneuvers, don't suddenly dive out of the racing line when the faster car is right behind you and already committed to pass, don't suddenly dive out of your line on the straight and jam on the brakes. If you're going to leave the racing line, do so smoothly, and so that the car behind can see what you're doing. Otherwise, if you're going to stick to the racing line, make sure the racer behind can see that you're keeping your line. Bottom line is, the driver behind is still passing, so it's his prerogative to pass cleanly, but it is the other driver's responsibility not to compete with the lapping driver, and not to intentionally prevent a pass.

Do not vote to restart race because you crashed

Never vote to restart the race if you are the one making the mistakes. If you miss your braking points and fly off the road at turn 1, but everyone else is doing just fine, then how is it fair to try to restart the race and ruin there races because you couldn't keep your car on the track? Learn from it and try to catch up. If lots of people do make a mistake and cause an accident then fine, vote to restart.

Use the pit lane entrances/exits

Pit lane entrances and exits are there for a reason. They are there to improve the safety of not only those who are pitting but also all those drivers that are not. Crossing the white/yellow line when exiting the pitlane is a clear violation of racing rules and is dangerous.

An example: The Kyoto Oval has a pit lane exit that goes inside the banked corner to the second straight before the white/yellow line stops. This means that any cars leaving the pit lane will re-enter the racing track at close to full speed before Turn 2. Those people who simply don't care about rules often re-enter the racing track at slow speeds in Turn 1... the results are obvious.

Please take notice of the pit lane entrances and exits when you explore a track to improve the safety for yourself and other racers.

Don't complain about people exiting the pits properly

This is an extra bit to the rule above. During a race it is the "on-track" car's responsibility to avoid the cars that are properly exiting the pits (i.e. staying inside the pit exit line). Do not drive into the pit exit area if you think a car is going to be exiting the pits in front of you. In fact, it's a good idea to never do it, and please don't tell others to wait to exit the pits until you've passed. That's what the exit lane is there for.

E.g. At the Westhill International circuit where the pit lane exit takes up the left-hand 25% of the straight.

Do not vote to restart a race if drivers are on the final laps

This is more of a courtesy act than a rule. E.g. If two (or more) drivers are busy battling away on the track and are almost finished and then 10 people that just joined the server decide they want to race right now, the drivers racing may get an unfair restart just before finishing. Show a little respect and wait to start a vote until you see the racing drivers finish their races.

Edit by Keling: Be careful if you and some fast friend have just finished the race. There may be some other players relatively slow who are still struggling 0.5 lap from the finish line. Don't shift+R immediately after seeing YOUR results on the list. The event doesn't end because the first 5 have finished. Wait for everyone.

Use clean overtaking tactics

Driving a faster car or exiting the corners at a greater velocity does not mean that you have right to ram or force others to step aside if they are in front of you. If you are in a faster car, overtaking safely will not be too much trouble, but it does not cost too much to wait a bit for a clean safe space, so don't squeeze to that 1/2 car space inside of every turn while braking.

If your car is more powerful than the other, wait until after the exit of the corner. Usually you can take a different line which gives you a slower exit speed but lets you safely overtake the slower vehicle without bumping his/her rear (or front) out of the corner. Remember, if the other person is in a UF 1000 and you are in something like an FZ50, you can easily wait until after the turn and blast past down the straight.

If your car is better in the turns, go in around 0.5 seconds behind the slower car, and when the slower car turns into the apex accelerate and pass from the outside. Remember that this works only with medium to high speed corners, and you should be way faster on the corner to be completely ahead of slower car by the corner exit so this would be safe. If you are not fast enough, the opponent will pass you on the corner exit. This is known as double passing. That or you will enjoy a spectacular crash.

Overtaking on the inside is also possible but for this you need to know that the slower driver actually knows racing code and is obeying it, and it is quite hard to see certain spots and therefore easy to get into an accident by misjudgement. If the opponent shows no signs of taking the outside, don't try it.

Hold your line

When you're being lapped by a faster car, hold your line. The people coming up on you have seen you, there's no need to try to get out of the way. The turns are all full throttle, and there's plenty room to go around you. If you decide to give us room the moment you see us in the mirror and move to a different line, we've probably already decided to pass you on that same line, and we all end up in the wall.

Cruise low

If your car is damaged, and is really slow, or just coasting back to the pits, stay in the lowest possible position. Staying on the inside has the advantage of staying out of the groove for the longest period of time. When you finally make it to the pit lane you don't have to cross the track either since you're already there.

Pit safely

When pitting get on the pit entry lane well before turn 3. And slow down so you can safely make the turn on the apron. When exiting, of course do so after turn 1. Also, until you're well on speed (shifting to high gear), stay OFF the groove and run as low as you can.

Stay still

When you've crashed on track and other cars are trying to avoid you then stick your foot on the brake. Keep your foot on the brake until everyone has passed and you are sure that there is nobody heading your way as it's a lot harder to avoid a moving chicane than it is a stationary one. Either go to the pits immediately, spectate, or do the above and try to limit the disruption to the race.

Look before you move

When changing lanes, like in a real car, ALWAYS look in the mirror AND BESIDE YOU. You're doing 290+ km/h and centimetres from other cars... 90% of the time you can't see the cars you're racing. Make sure you know where they are before you change your line.

Be nice

Give people room, and be smooth with your actions. At 290+km/h you travel a long way in a second. Cars don't respond to evasive action that well. So be nice to the other drivers. Don't block them if it's not absolutely necessary. They pass you, you'll draft by them the next straight on the track. Being agressive will only take you to the infield care-center.

Controlling the race cars

by Impreza WRX

Are you having difficulty driving your racing cars? Here are many tips to get you in the groove.

Easy on the gas

This may seem obvious, but many people forget it. This is especially important in the Formula XR, and V8. Slicks have a lot of grip, but lose a lot when skidding. If you break traction while accelerating, the cars WILL snap oversteer. While it is good to do a small burnout to preheat the drive wheels for more control, it is not a good thing when you spin wheels too much, don't get the hole-shot, and try to make up by cutting turn one; or worse, spin out at the start line and cause a crash.


Do not lock the wheels when braking

This is obvious, but once again people forget this one. As stated above, slicks lose lots of grip when sliding, and have very thin tread. If you lock the wheels, you will create flat spots. It only takes three laps on a short track to have a blowout from the tread wearing faster on that one spot. Save your self the heartache and learn to smoothly control the brakes.

If your brakes lock, let off the brakes, then put them on again, but with a little less pressure. Known as cadence braking, it is a good skill to learn in real life as well, if your car lacks ABS.

No off road expeditions when racing

Another obvious one, but oftentimes forgotten. Slicks lose a lot of grip when they get dirty. Since the tread is not self cleaning, it takes some time and a couple fast corners at the limit to get the rubber cleaned off. Unless you are avoiding a huge pileup that spans the entire tarmac, don't even clip the grass with two wheels! You will also have a great chance of spinning out or plowing straight into trouble by even clipping the off road on slicks. If you want to cut corners, learn to use the kerbs!

DeadWolfBones adds: If you go off-road get off the gas immediately and don't jerk the wheel

Think of driving off-road as driving on ice (In some cars that is, especially S-S) be gentle on the wheel and throttle to smoothly get yourself off the sand but do be warned your tires will get dirty.

This will help quite a bit in not losing control and you should be able to coast/drive at very low throttle back onto the track.

If you've been off-road take it easier than normal for a few corners

As Impreza mentioned, tires get dirty and it takes a few corners to clean them off. So, to avoid spinning all over again, brake early, drop down an extra gear, and generally take it easy till you're sure the tires are clean. There's a dirt bar in the bottom middle of each tire on the F9 screen to tell you how dirty they are. Don't add insult to injury!

Don't block the much faster car passing you

Most people block the incoming car as a strategy inherited from Gran Turismo, where getting bumped by the AI train gives you a boost to speed. In online (and real life) racing, if a car is coming in hot and you block their path, it's considered rude and dangerous. If they can't slow down enough, they will smash your back and most likely cause an accident or one or both of you will go blasting off like Team Rocket because of lag. When it says Blue Flag check your rear view mirror. If they are very close hold your course, as they will pass you out of the racing line. If they are a good ways behind, leave the racing line so they can shoot by easier. This applies to drivers being lapped and drivers who are considerably slower (about 10 MPH or more) than the incoming car. However, if you and another driver are neck to neck, you do have every right to battle each other (without crashing of course) for lead position.

Smooth, dynamic driving rewards faster lap times

Not too many people realize that racing involves keeping a good rhythm. When accelerating, braking, and turning, the car's weight gets shifted around. Depending on the suspension, it may shift quickly or slowly. If you jerk the car around, like turning left then slamming right, the weight is not loading the correct tires, and they break traction when the weight shifts violently from turning. When you put more weight over a tire, it has greater grip than with less weight. There is a point where the tire is overloaded with weight and will lose traction again. So, when you do the above maneuver, called the "Scandinavian Flick", the weight is initially over the right wheels, and snapping right causes the left wheels to suddenly max out on grip with the little weight over them, causing them to break traction, and as the weight shifts over them, they continue to stay in skid, as the right wheels suddenly lose the weight over them, losing traction and also skidding. This also means that when braking, you should smoothly apply the brake pedal, so the front wheels can load up and provide maximum stopping force, otherwise they lock and you go straight into the unknown! When turning, you should smoothly dial in steering so the outside tires have a chance to load. How fast you turn in, brake, and accelerate depends on the car and the suspension setup. You may be amazed at how fast you can blow through turns by driving smoothly and rhythmically.

Adjust your downforce

Race cars have wings. These wings provide traction at high speeds and keep the car from becoming airborne. The more downforce you put, the more grip the car will have at speed but the lower the top speed and top end acceleration will be due to drag. Therefore, on a high speed course like the oval the downforce should be lower, but on a slower, tight corner course the downforce should be higher, and on the drag strip downforce should be minimal.

Really, though, you need to adjust downforce to suit your driving. Start with one downforce setting, and raise (or lower) the downforce until your lap times are at their lowest on average.

Also, the difference between front and rear downforce will play with your car's handling. If there is a lot of downforce on one end, the other end will actually lose grip at higher speeds. Too much front downforce will cause the car to become nervous and oversteer easily at high speed. Too much rear downforce will cause the car to understeer at speed, and actually lose grip on the turns.

Edit by Keling: Always remember that wings hardly benefit a racer in a very big part of a straight line or at a low-speed corner, they only work at high-speed corners and in braking areas. So it's the corners that mainly defines your wing angle. If you are on a 99999-corners tarmac rally track, you never go fast and downforce adjustment is not a big thing. If you are on a super street speedway, enjoying full throttle for 0.7km and than 45kph into a corner, it's a FAST track where wings can only slow cars down (on the straight lines), time saved by better braking will not make up the time you lose in very long acceleration, and cornering speed can only change a litttttle, so you need low-downforce settings. However, we have another type of FAST track where you go through Gear 4/5/6 corners one after another. In this case, there are so many high-speed corners for your wings to work. It's still a fast track, but middle or even high downforce settings would be better.

Choose your tires wisely

You may have noticed several sets of slicks are available. For long, endurance races, choosing the Hard slicks (R4) will mean more laps before a tire change at the pit stop, but you will not be able to corner as hard. Using soft slicks (R2) means unparalleled traction but frequent pitting. These are useful for short races and hot-lapping.

Sometimes, you can mix tire types to compensate with overheating sets of tires. For example, if you use R2 front and R3 rear on an FZ50 GTR, you can reduce the overheating of the rear tires. However, you will have less grip in the rear, so you need to re-tune the suspension to reduce the oversteer.

/edit by scipy - This is stupid, you need to INCREASE oversteer when driving R2 fronts and R3 rears because once the fronts heat up (color wise) 2-3°C more than the rears they will just understeer to death. Please don't try to help people with wrong advice.

Learn the track

Learn to drive the whole track, not just the fastest line. You never known when you will need to deviate from the ideal line, to pass a slower car, avoid an incident or recover from a driving mistake.

Be careful when downshifting

The GTR cars are very sensitive to inappropriate downshifts - braking hard and not blipping the throttle enough to match the revs will cause the engine braking on the rear wheels and locking them up. This generally leads to the back end stepping out and snap oversteering and ruining your lap (assuming you even catch it in time and don't crash.) Downshifting once too many times will have the same effect.

The first bend

You will not be able to win a race on the first corner, only lose it! So don't try it, many a time I have witnessed drivers shooting down the inside of a full pack, trying to get to the corner first, locking all the wheels and taking out the front half of the pack.

On any track, the first corner is generally better to be taken at slower speeds, ensuring all the cars make it round the corner, accidents may happen, this is racing, but be wary of your surroundings, other cars, and do not try and scream down the inside, braking far to late in the attempt to get that illusive number 1 spot, it will not work!

As I said, you will not win the race on the first bend, only lose it!

Drafting is for straights

Don't draft in turns. It takes away the air on your car, and either makes you spin, or pushes you into the wall. Try to run a bit lower or higher than the car you're following. However at tracks such as Kyoto Ring drafting is a very useful tool. Get behind a car and let it suck you right up to its rear and put on your brakes. Important! do not let off the gas, or you will loose you momentum and fall back. By staying behind another car in a draft you increase both speeds of each car allowing for you both to pass faster cars and hold them off. "The bigger the pack the faster you go"

Don't overheat your tires

Slicks warm up and cool down a lot faster than normal tires. If you drift or drive just beyond the limit, the tires will overheat and lose traction. If the interior temperature goes too high, the tire could blow. The last thing you need is a flat tire in the middle of the sweepers. If the tires are getting too hot, slow down in the turns or use harder tires.

Spin wheels when you exit your pit-stop

Near the completion of a pit-stop; when the refuelling thing comes up, floor the gas pedal, and floor it out of the pits (in GTR cars mainly) to get the tires up to a slight optimum temperature; this will insure you that you wont slip going out of turn 1. If you always wondered why people did that in NASCAR, IRL, and so forth; not only is it to get out of there fast, but mainly to heat up their tires a bit so they don't slide around...

Use tyre pressures wisely

Tyre pressures are important. They can mean the difference between cold tires and blown tires. It can mean shooting through the sweepers or lumbering through with great driftage. It can even mean blasting off the line or getting off the line.

So here's what to do. Start with about 35 P.S.I., and drive around. Are your tires too cold? Are they cooling off too fast? Not enough grip? The insides are too hot? Start lowering the pressure, 2-10 P.S.I. at a time. Are the tires too hot? Is the car wandering too much? Raise the pressure, 1-4 P.S.I. at a time. Once you got it, the tires should not be overheating when you are driving correctly. Also, the car should feel quick through the turns, but not sluggish.

Be fortunate that S2 does not yet simulate tires flexing too much in turns and pulling off the "bead", at least as far as I can tell...

Fast launching the XRR and FXR

You probably do a lot of bogging down at the start with the XR GTR and FXO GTR. However, it is possible to do even a four wheel burnout in the FXO GTR! How? Here's how.

Three seconds before the start, floor the gas. Your rev limiter will protect your engine from damage, but more importantly, you will build up to 20 pounds of boost. With only 10 pounds of boost, you can blast off in the XR GTR. With 12, you can spin four wheels in the FXO GTR. With this ability at your side, you can finally take off as fast (XRR) or even faster (FXR) than the FZ50 GTR! With a well-tuned differential and a well-timed launch, a FXO GTR driver can always get the holeshot.

Here's another trick. Try making the first gear higher (lower top speed). This way, the car can take off with less or no boost, and won't bog down. However, this also means having to shift into second gear sooner. Try both tricks, and use the fastest one for your driving style.

Edit by Keling: If 6 gears is really a must, the first gear will be made low enough for the slowest corner, not fit for launching. Then, try to do clutch-kick (sometimes more than once) to keep the rpm high enough. Your FXR will not launch quickly, but it's still much better than falling to 1200rpm.

Surviving Turn One

by Gunn

Everybody loves a close race, nobody loves being wiped out in the first corner. To win a race you must at least finish the race and all can be lost in the first hot seconds if care is not taken. Let's take a brief look at some important considerations when a race starts and a swarm of cars goes thundering towards turn 1.

  • When the lights go green there is always going to be a mad dash for the first corner, all drivers want to make the best start they can.
  • Rarely will all cars launch from the line evenly, a car in front of you may be slow getting away.
  • Very few (and perhaps none) of the drivers will have a perfect line into the first few corners as all cars jostle for position and get settled.
  • Everybody's tyres are cold, grip levels are low.
  • Most drivers would now have opponents close by them but sitting in their blind spot, requiring a head turn to check their actual positions.
  • The greatest potential for lag in LFS is when a large field of cars is bunched up together.

If there is ever a recipe for a multi-car pile up, Turn One (T1) of almost any race track is the mixing bowl and a bunch of racers hungry for victory are the ingredients. Let's take a look at and discuss ways to avoid T1 pile-ups and increase your chances of finishing the race in one piece so you can enjoy your victory cake.

  • When the lights go green, apply the throttle smoothly (don't stomp) and try to get away cleanly with as little wheelspin as possible.
  • This is a good time to quickly glance left and right to see where your nearest rivals are and see how well they have launched from the start. You now have a better idea of your relative positions and are less likely to end someone's race through a poorly-timed move.
  • It is best not to throw your car into T1 with wild abandon, if someone is beside you entering the turn you should leave them room to corner, you want to avoid car-to-car contact. Better for both of you to corner carefully than to cause a 6 car pile-up.
  • Be prepared to back off or brake, don't rely on luck to get you through. Be aware that other cars are prone to error in these first few turns and get ready to evade an accident ahead.
  • Cars in front may brake heavily, avoid contact. Shunting the current world champion out of the race in the first ten seconds is a rather embarassing way to end your (and his) event or championship. Public races should be treated the same way. It is a common error that we have all made or will make early in our training and, as you will find out, it is the worst way to be taken out of a race. No matter if it's the first or last corner of a race be very, very wary of rear-ending another car.


Obeying Flags

by Gunn

Flags in Live For Speed

While racing you may see warning flags displayed on screen and it is important to know what they mean. The flags in our LFS races are controlled by the software of course, in real life racing people make decisions about if, when, and how flags are to be displayed. The general meanings of these warnings (outlined below) should apply in most cases where you are faced with a flag in LFS racing.

Yellow Flag

When you see the yellow flag displayed on your screen it tells you that a car up ahead has spun or crashed. You should prepare to slow down and avoid becoming a casualty of the incident. Up ahead the car that has spun may be just rejoining the track when you arrive on the scene. It would do nobody any good if you plowed into him because you had disregarded the yellow flag warning.

  • When you see a yellow, get ready for trouble and get ready to back off. You can't win the race if your car has become a burning wreck so it is better to be cautious and survive the day.

Blue Flag

A blue flag tells you that a car behind is in a higher position than you are. The action you will take depends on your situation. Let's examine the two likely situations where a blue flag will appear in Live For Speed.

  • If you are being lapped by a faster car: The car behind you is consistently faster than you and has managed to travel one more lap than you have. He is about to overtake you and the blue flag is displayed to warn you of his presence. In this case you are hindering his progress and must allow him to pass you as soon as it is safe to do so (you can't be expected to yield while negotiating a chicane or high speed corner) Hold your line don't fight the other car, do not make any sudden movements left or right, ease off slightly and let him pass. He is a lap ahead of you and you are not fighting him for position. You must not hold him up.
  • You are not being lapped by a faster car: The car behind you is in a higher position but is not consistently faster than you. Perhaps you had an earlier spin or have just made a pit stop or stopped to serve a penalty and that is why your rival has managed to creep up behind you as if he is about to lap you. As above, if you see a blue flag you must not hinder the progress of the car behind, if you are holding it up you should allow the other car to pass you as soon as possible. If you are not hindering its progress then get on with the job and leave it behind you.

Note: There is some controversy in real racing about exact interpretation of blue flag rules. Generally it is accepted that you hold your line and make no sudden or defensive moves, allowing the faster car to overtake you. You will earn respect from all drivers for acting sensibly and fairly when faced with a blue or yellow flag.