In this article, we will help you become a PRO with race strategy in ACC; from experience in racing in endurance races and team endurance races, Sergi will guide you to victory!
Until now, you have done lots of sprint races without pitstops and changing weather. However, you have also probably experienced races where pitting at the right moment with the correct strategy made the difference in terms of finishing position.
With this post, I want to share my experience so far and give you a list of things to consider when approaching events that need to be a fast driver and a smart race strategist.
First and most importantly, check the server conditions for the race. Average temperature, cloud and rain level, randomness, and times for qualifying and race.
You can copy them into a server of your own or just pop them into an offline session. That will help you to check the temperatures that you can expect and prepare accordingly.
Regarding the rain probability, you can check this tool: http://www.lennyslounge.net/ACC%20Weather%20sim/index.html
Race duration and rules
Knowing how long and how many stints you will have is crucial. Depending on the settings, there might be more than one optimal strategy. You should be aware of them and either optimize the fuel for one of them before the race or leave your options open with a heavier tank.
You need to consider the race length as well as the possible mandatory pitstops and their requirements: (fixed time) refuelling, tyre change, and driver change. There can also be a maximum stint time that will limit how long you can drive before going to pits and a maximum driving time in case of team races. All these factors influence the valid strategies for a race, so analyze them all and try to figure out which ones are the fastest.
We already went through the part of the fuel calculation in this post, so I recommend you to go through it if you haven’t done it yet, as it includes valuable information for your strategy. This will already help you decide the best strategy to finish a race the fastest possible if you are alone on the track. However, in a race, you have many competitors, and you will generally never be able to go as fast as you would on your own, being stuck behind another car or having to defend. Or maybe the weather changes, which will force you to pit at a different point than planned. Let’s go through some of the strategy variations you may be able to do and explain when they make sense:
The Undercut Strategy
There is generally a broad window where you are able to pit without making a big difference in time (or may be defined by a pit window). In a 90min race, the fastest would be to pit right in the middle of the race, after 45min, so you have twice the freshest possible tyres. However, you could decide to pit earlier if you have a car in front that you struggle to overtake or maybe several cars you’re fighting with and losing time. That way you would get fresh tyres before them and put some faster laps than your opponents, also having fresh air. You’ll probably lap faster with fresh tyres even while having a higher fuel load.
The Overcut Strategy
This would be the opposite strategy and useful when you’re quite in the front. If you pit earlier than drivers behind you, you might get out of pits behind them and lose time overtaking, even if you’re faster. This is the reason why you should try to pit a bit later being the leader unless you want to protect yourself from an undercut by someone following close. Be aware that the later you pit after a driver following you close, the higher the chance of being overtaken after the pitstop.
Pit for repairs
First of all, you need to decide if it makes sense to repair at all. As a rule of thumb, unless there’s still lots of race time remaining, it’s not worth it to repair less than 6-10s of damage (especially if it’s at the side and not front/rear). You could try and estimate how much time you’re losing per lap and how many laps there are still to go. If, for example, you lose 0.5s per lap and there are 12 laps remaining (after your pitstop), you should not repair more than 6s of damage. In any case, something like 1-5s of damage should be barely noticeable.
However, if you decide to pit because you’re losing too much time, pit as soon as possible. That is, at the beginning of the pit window, if activated, leaving enough time (stint timer) and fuel to finish the race.
Pit for wet/dry tyres
This is a tricky one. Taking the right decision is always a mix of experience and luck. There are many factors that can make a strategy valid or not, so I will just list some examples to give you an idea.
- You’re on drys, and it starts to rain. When the track is damp, it’s already the moment to change to wets if the forecast says it will continue to rain. However, if there’s little race time left, maybe losing 10s per lap with dry tyres is better than losing 60s in pits. There’s the added risk of a spin/crash tho. The same applies if the window in that you have to pit anyway is about to open. In that case, you might want to pit a bit later in order to avoid a further pitstop later.
- You’re on wets, and it’s drying up. When it stops raining and the track is drying up, the wet tyres will overheat and ultimately be slower than dry. Analog to the previous case, you should pit for drys when the track changes to greasy. If you pit earlier than that, your dry tyres will grain and lose performance for the rest of the race when the track is properly dry. Always think that a pitstop for tyres is only beneficial if the rest of the driving time you need is long enough that you can compensate for the pitstop time loss. One more thing to note is that the track dries up slower at night and with colder temperatures.
Using the tips above, you should be a strategy master, and if you’re looking for some endurance races to join, check out our endurance events on PitSkill.io here: