There are many ways to be quick in Forza Motorsport. From on-track decisions to applying the right upgrades, these are the more obvious means to chip away at your lap times. However, there is one other way to gain those extra seconds.
Tuning is just as important as upgrading the car. You can shave off precious tenths where it matters most with the correct tuning setup. So how can you get the best tuning setup in Forza Motorsport?
Tuning in Forza Motorsport
Tuning in Forza Motorsport can get very technical, but essentially it is split into several core components. Tyres, suspension, camber and toe are the main factors when it comes to cornering and speed, with the differential, brakes, aerodynamics and anti-roll bars also important. There are other areas of tuning that can improve performance, but we’ll mainly be focusing on the above in this guide.
Tuning in Forza Motorsport can seem intimidating at first, especially to new players, but we’ll aim to give you the basic know-how needed to guide you when creating a tuning setup to suit your driving style.
Forza Motorsport tuning guide
This guide breaks down every stage of tuning, teaching you how each area affects the car and offering guidelines on where to set the necessary values. You may need to do some on-track testing to refine these values further, as differing driving styles are affected differently by tuning.
When it comes to tyres, there are two things to consider. These are the compounds and the pressures. Tyre compound affects the contact surface area between the tyres and the tarmac, whilst the pressure affects how the tyre deforms during high loads such as cornering. Pressure can also affect the contact surface in these high-load sections, but ultimately the compound is most effective here.
Tracks with tight corners will require a semi-slick or race tyre compound, whilst a faster circuit can be run using sport or street compounds. Track temperature can also come into play when choosing a compound, so take a lot at the weather conditions before selecting your tyres.
For pressures, higher values make the car more responsive but volatile, whilst lower numbers make the car more forgiving. Ideally, you want your ‘warm tyre’ temperature around the 33 PSI (2.27 Bar) mark for optimum performance. This is the pressure your tyres will operate at once the car is up to race speed.
Camber is the angle the front wheels sit at, in relation to the road surface, when looking from the front of the car. Race cars nearly always have a negative camber, meaning the top of the front wheels sit closer together than the bottom. This increases the contact patch with the track when cornering, increasing grip.
The temptation is to therefore run a high negative camber, however this will increase friction and slow you down on the straights. Running a camber of approximately -1.5 degrees enables you to gain that extra grip on the corners without overheating the tyres or losing performance on the straights.
The toe is the angle of the wheels when looking at the car from the top down. If the front of the tyres point inwards, that’s known as toe in, whilst the opposite effect is known as toe out. Toe is used to assist in cornering when the tyres are turning at different speeds.
Toe in makes the car more difficult to steer when entering a corner, so we don’t need to worry about that. Toe out allows the inside tyre to turn more on corner entry, although this effect does drop off quickly as you corner. Toe can also increase drag on straights, so again it’s important not to overdo it when tuning this area.
Springs and ride height are the core components of the suspension. A good suspension setup should keep the tyres in contact with the road surface even when cornering or riding curbs. Setting suspension though is a tradeoff between keeping contact with the track but also avoiding bottoming out on straights.
Stiffer springs mean the suspension won’t compress as easily, removing the risk of bottoming out or moving around under cornering forces. However, if the springs are too stiff, you will lose contact with the tarmac and therefore you won’t be able to control the car. Obviously, this is not ideal.
It’s key to get the balance right between a stiff suspension for the straights but with enough leeway to keep all four tyres connected to the road. Setting the front suspension stiffer than the rear will provoke understeer, whereas the opposite will create oversteer. For Forza Motorsport, oversteer is likely to be more useful than understeer, as you can carry more speed into corners, so set the rear suspension stiffer for the best result.
Anti-roll works very similarly to suspension. Every car rolls as it corners, creating flex in the bodywork. Anti-roll bars run from one wheel, across the entire width of the car to the other wheel, connecting everything together into one system.
During a corner, the forces cause the outer suspension to compress, whilst the inner suspension extends. This can cause a loss of grip on the inside, pushing the car wide. The anti-roll bars force the inner suspension to copy the outer suspension, keeping all four wheels on the ground.
Anti-roll can be used to cancel out suspension issues. A stiffer rear anti-roll setup cancels out understeer, with a stiffer front overriding oversteer. Combined with the suspension, this can create a more well-rounded cornering profile for your car.
It’s important to note that anti-roll bars have little to no effect on straight-line speed, so it’s better to use the anti-roll setup to create under or oversteer rather than the suspension.
The aerodynamics of the car are directly responsible for the amount of downforce generated. Higher downforce generates more grip when cornering, at the cost of increasing drag and therefore decreasing top speed. Higher speeds can generate more downforce, so in some cases you actually need the car to go faster to benefit from the aerodynamics.
Just like with the suspension and anti-roll bars, the aerodynamics affect the front and rear of the car differently. If you’re losing the grip at the rear during corners, it’s best to increase the rear downforce. If the front slides around during corners, then adjust the front downforce to counteract this.
It’s important to know when to use aerodynamics and when not to. Tracks with high-speed straights and corners will benefit from aerodynamics far more than a slower track with a lot of technical corners. You’ll find yourself adjusting the aerodynamics more than any other tuning setting as you progress through Forza Motorsport.
Brake balance affects how you slow the car down going into corners. A front brake balance is more advantageous as it helps keep the car pointing the right way. If however, you find yourself understeering through the corner, a rear brake balance would be better for you.
Front brake balance also prevents rear lockups, with a rear balance preventing front lockups. These are only really an issue in straight-line braking zones, however, so only adjust if necessary. If you use a trail braking technique, you’ll definitely want to perfect your brake setup.
Finally, we have the differential. The differential controls how fast each wheel spins when going around corners. This is crucial, as the outer wheels need to spin faster than the inner wheels to avoid spinning out.
A differential can be open or locked. An open differential allows the wheels to spin independently from one another, whilst a locked differential forces the wheels to spin at the same speed.
You might think then that an open differential is the way to go, but that’s not necessarily the case. Open differentials send power to the wheel that’s easiest to spin. When under cornering, this is usually the inside wheel, which is the opposite of what you actually want.
This can be fixed with a limited slip differential, which allows the wheels to spin separately up to a limit. It’s also worth noting that front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars behave differently when it comes to differential. Each have their own systems designed to keep the wheels spinning at the speed you need them to.
Ultimately you want the wheels to work together to keep the car cornering when you need it, then throttling away on corner exit. Finding the balance is key to ensuring you don’t lose any performance when racing.
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