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Here's a few tips to help any novice like myself get pace cars up and running quicker with SSDC v5.1

Pace cars are a fidgety thing to get running smoothly around a track.

USE STOCK STANDARD CARS: Choose a car that runs well.. in that I mean, not a car that stops and starts a lot. I was using F1 cars as pace cars and I now find that these cars are very unpredictable. they are hard to set a good even speed for your START SPEED as the car is very twitchy and highly powered which means you will need to reduce the power of the car to around 40% which means the start speed will probably be even less around 20%
This in comparison to a stock standard car such as the Audi or Porsche which are so much easier to setup as pace cars ... I'm not saying you simply can't use F1 cars as pace cars.. but it's much easier to comprehend whats going on when trying to understand the basics of a Pace car setup. You really need to eliminate as many variables that may be contributing to factors associated with pace cars over or under speeding or simply not responding properly.

Issue: Pace Car editor window not displaying data you just recorded.
You've just finished recording your favorite car but when you go into the Pace Car Editor and hit Refresh Chart... nothing appears... Aaahh!!
Make sure you have the correct track selected in both the Tracks tab but also within the 'Race Manager' table. If you have more than one track layout, you will need to make sure you have it selected in the Race Manager... i often forget to change it over as i have 4 different track layouts saved in SSDC. Best you start out with one track layout only & make the track as simple as possible.. an oval is a good idea. just until you understand the ins and outs of SSDC.

Once you have your pace car recording and the car is now selected as a pace car. place the car on the track at least one meter before the start finish line. This will allow the car to build up some speed before crossing over the start finish sensor which records your lap times. If you don't there's a good chance your car will simply fly off the track at turn one.

When fine tuning the START SPEED / Target LAP Time / make sure you let the car settle to a comfortable pace.. this may take several laps.
then slowly adjust both the Target Lap Time & Start Speed until you get a good balance. (Leave both Lane change & variable throttle off until you are happy with the cars action around the track. ) The best way to feel how well your pace car is progressing is to watch the lap times the car is doing.. if the car is -1 add a second to the Target Lap time keep watching the lap times your car is doing and either increase or decrease the START SPEED &or the TARGET LAP time until you are happy with the results.

THE FREE PRACTICE BUTTON:
If your car is simply not moving after you ID it or the car is not responding properly there is a good chance you may not have the FREE PRACTICE button turned on. or you have set the Power Limit for the Driver too low.. i have found that sometimes I either have the Free Practice button in the wrong state as there is no way of telling what mode you're in. Also make sure the Driver variables you are adjusting are in fact the correct driver. I have on numerous occasions wondered why my car is not reacting to my changes in Driver setup.. i had the wrong driver selected for the Driver / Car setup in the RACE MANAGER window.

in the Race manager area .. Clicking the Free Practice button changes the state of the lights on the power base. You really need to understand how this effects the state of your car... it goes from PowerBase control mode in which your car will be controlled by the Power base only which means your car will have 100% power but no way of adjusting the power eg. throttle mappings and power limitations that are available within SSDC. hit the FREE PRACTICE button & notice the powerbase light changes to one green light (the red light is off) and then when you hit the Free Practice button again you have two lights.. (one green, one red) . you need to be in this mode to ID your car. Its this RED & GREEN light mode in which the power base is controlling the car not SSDC. when you hit the FREE PRACTICE BUTTON again one green light will be on and the red light is off.. you are now in SSDC mode so you can begin to alter driver power limitations and throttle mappings found under the CAR tab. but you must understand that simply having one green light on does not necessarily mean you can now adjust the driver settings as you also have to ID the car (if you have not already done so)

(I believe a lot of confusion is based around the vagueness of this button.. Perhaps changing the button colour state once depressed might help alleviate such matters... just a thought )

RESET POWERBASE & SSDC:
The sequence in which you turn on both the Power Base and the Software is crucial. make sure you turn on the software first & then turn the power base on... this allows the powerbase to recognize your SSDC software. Occasionally I'm not getting any response from a car.. it is simply not operating...Dead. hhmm.. strange ? only 10 seconds ago all was fine.. now I have no power to the car, simply try turning the power off at the wall and wait several seconds and then turn it on again.. this resets the Power base. You also might need to restart SSDC. Making sure you have one green light in the lower right hand side of the screen after restarting... if you don't you might have issues with the COM port setting. (refer to the SSDC manual available for download at the site )

** I should also mention, that a lot of these notes are simply iterating the help I have received from other members within the forum, thanks heaps guys .. anything I have missed, which I am sure i have, please step up correct or simpy add to it...

GOOD LUCK & ENJOY
 

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Thanks for the all the details - I'd never got on top of the significance of the PB lights.
Were you using variable throttle on the pace car as this seems to be an art?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When adjusting the pace cars optimum speed around the track ... firstly, place the car on the inside lane with lane changing off. Make sure the car runs smoothly on the inside lane and then after a good few laps and you are comfortable with your results turn on lane changing and observe the car for several more laps as it changes between inside and outside. and then once all is finally running well turn on variable throttle.
 

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one thing i would also like to bring to attention which is really weird ....

As a pace car is traveling around the track and you are observing the lap times and adjusting its start speed and minimum lap time, naturally the car may de-slot ... this means the car will record a slow lap, yes .... and so it will naturally try to speed up once you place it back on the track ... it will speed up to try to attain a good lap time again. this I believe means you should not adjust the cars speed until it crosses the start finish line and begins a fresh lap.

This is a strange phenomenon .... as it can create all sorts of problems when trying to set a good pace car speed. The only way i can think of returning the pace car to a good speed, is to stop the car completely and re-start the car again from the start finish line ... or wait, and if you are lucky the car might settle again

If there is a better way of setting the initial pace car speed, it would be really welcome if someone could explain.....
 
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