Tuning Track Tyres With ChatGPT – 12 Big Questions Answered

Tuning track tyres so you get the most grip is one of the “dark arts” of motorsports. Your tyres are the single biggest performance tuning device on your car, yet tyres can be so confusing. Even when you think you know what you’re doing, like I did pulling together the track tyre tuning course, you discover there is more to learn.

You need to have your tyres inflated enough, but not too much.

They need to be hot, but not too hot.

Their alignment needs to have some camber and toe, but only a “sensible amount” and it is not clear why.

You get more grip the harder you press tyres into the ground, but only to a point.

Not all your tyres see the same loads on a track so you can’t treat them all the same, or can you?

As a driver you can feel when your grip peaks through the steering wheel, or can you?

And on (and on) down the rabbit-hole of vague answers you go….

Can ChatGPT Help You With Tuning Track Tyres?

The OpenAI site – backed by Google – recently launched ChatGPT. This is how they describe the technology:

We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer followup questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.

To see how much help it could you tuning your tyres, I put to it 12 of the tyre tuning questions I set out to answer in my track tyre tuning course.

Read the replies below.

In fairness some of them are reasonably good, but perhaps only if you know the answers already?

Let me know what you think – Will you be using ChatGPT when tuning track tyres?

ChatGPT Answers Questions on Tuning Track Tyres

Here are 12 questions I put to ChatGPT on tuning track tyres (Dec 2022)

1 – How do tires grip the road?

Tires are made of a rubber compound that is designed to grip the road and provide traction. When a tire rolls on the road, the weight of the vehicle presses down on the tire, causing the rubber to deform slightly and make contact with the road. This contact creates friction between the tire and the road, which allows the tire to grip the road and provide traction.

2 – How do you set the best tire pressures to use on a race track?

Setting the correct tire pressure for a race track can be important for a number of reasons. The right tire pressure can help improve the handling and grip of the vehicle, which can help the driver go faster and perform better on the track. It can also help to reduce the chances of the tires overheating or losing traction, which can be dangerous on a race track.

To determine the best tire pressure for a race track, there are a few factors that you should consider. First, you should check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the tire pressure for your specific tires. This is a good starting point, but you may need to adjust the tire pressure based on the conditions of the track and the weight of your vehicle.

Next, you should consider the temperature of the track and the air. As the temperature increases, the air in the tires will expand, which can cause the tire pressure to rise. On the other hand, as the temperature decreases, the air in the tires will contract, which can cause the tire pressure to drop. As a result, it’s important to check the tire pressure before each race and adjust it as needed to account for changes in temperature.

Finally, you should consider the weight of your vehicle and the type of track you are racing on. A heavier vehicle will require higher tire pressures to support the additional weight, while a lighter vehicle may be able to get away with lower tire pressures. In addition, different tracks will have different surface types and conditions, which can affect the ideal tire pressure. For example, a smooth, paved track may require lower tire pressures than a rough, off-road track.

Overall, the best way to determine the ideal tire pressure for a race track is to experiment and see what works best for your vehicle and the conditions of the track. You may need to make small adjustments to the tire pressure before each race to ensure that you have the best grip and traction possible.

3 – Why do “karting lines” work in the wet?

“Karting lines” refer to a specific driving technique that is often used in kart racing, particularly in wet conditions. The idea behind this technique is to follow a specific path around the track that is optimized for wet conditions, in order to maximize grip and traction.

The reason why “karting lines” work in the wet is because they take advantage of the physics of water and tire grip. When a tire is rolling on a wet surface, it creates a thin layer of water between the tire and the road. This layer of water can reduce the grip and traction of the tire, which can make it more difficult to drive in wet conditions.

A “karting line” is designed to minimize the amount of water that the tire has to displace in order to maintain grip. For example, a “karting line” may involve driving close to the inside edge of a turn, where the water is likely to be shallower and the tire will have more grip. By following this line, the driver can maintain better control of the kart and go faster without losing traction.

In addition, “karting lines” often involve using different parts of the track for different parts of the race. For example, a “karting line” may involve using the outside edge of a turn to accelerate out of the turn, where the track is likely to be drier and the tire will have more grip. By using different parts of the track in this way, the driver can maintain better control and go faster in wet conditions.

4 – What should you do with new tires to make sure you get the most grip?

There are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most grip from your new tires:

  1. Make sure the tires are properly inflated. The correct tire pressure is important for maintaining the shape of the tire and ensuring that it makes good contact with the road. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the proper tire pressure for your specific tires, and inflate the tires to the recommended pressure.
  2. Rotate the tires regularly. Rotating the tires means moving them from one position on the vehicle to another (e.g. moving the front tires to the rear, and vice versa). This helps to evenly distribute wear on the tires, which can improve their grip and performance.
  3. Avoid overloading the tires. Overloading the tires can cause them to deform and lose contact with the road, which can reduce their grip. Make sure you are not carrying more weight than the tires are designed to handle, and avoid over-inflating the tires.
  4. Keep the tires clean and free of debris. Dirt, mud, and other debris can accumulate on the tires and reduce their grip. Make sure to clean the tires regularly, and remove any debris that may be stuck to them.
  5. Avoid using the tires in extreme temperatures. Extreme temperatures can cause the tire rubber to become too hard or too soft, which can reduce its grip. Avoid using the tires in very hot or very cold temperatures if possible, and be aware of how temperature can affect the tire pressure.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your new tires have the best grip possible and perform at their best.

5 – How do tires generate cornering force?

Tires generate cornering force by creating a lateral force between the tire and the road. This lateral force is the result of the tire’s grip on the road and the frictional forces that act between the tire and the road.

When a vehicle is turning, the weight of the vehicle shifts to the outside of the turn, causing the tires on that side of the vehicle to bear more of the weight. This increases the downward force on the outside tires, which in turn increases the lateral force between the tires and the road. This lateral force creates a turning moment on the vehicle, which causes the vehicle to turn.

The amount of cornering force that a tire can generate is determined by the tire’s grip on the road, which is influenced by a number of factors. These factors include the type of tire, the tire pressure, the temperature of the tire, the weight of the vehicle, and the condition of the road. By carefully controlling these factors, it is possible to maximize the cornering force that a tire can generate, which can improve the handling and performance of a vehicle.

6 – How can you optimise camber angle to get more tire grip?

Camber angle is the angle at which the wheels are tilted in relation to the road. It is measured in degrees, with positive camber indicating that the top of the wheel is tilted outward and negative camber indicating that the top of the wheel is tilted inward.

Optimizing the camber angle can help to improve tire grip in a few ways. First, a properly aligned camber angle can help to maintain the shape of the tire and ensure that it makes good contact with the road. This can help to improve the tire’s grip on the road, particularly when cornering.

Second, a properly aligned camber angle can help to distribute the weight of the vehicle evenly across the tire. This can help to prevent the tire from overheating or losing grip, particularly when the vehicle is cornering at high speeds.

To optimize the camber angle for maximum tire grip, it is important to consider the specific conditions of the vehicle and the road. For example, a higher camber angle may be appropriate for a vehicle that is being driven on a racetrack, where high cornering speeds are common, while a lower camber angle may be more appropriate for a vehicle that is being driven on a public road, where the speeds and loads are lower.

It is also important to consider the type of tire and the weight of the vehicle when setting the camber angle. Different tires may have different optimal camber angles, and the weight of the vehicle can also affect the ideal camber angle. As a result, it may be necessary to experiment with different camber angles to find the one that provides the best tire grip for your specific vehicle and driving conditions.

7 – What advice have you for race drivers who are struggling with corner entry and braking?

If you are a race driver who is struggling with corner entry and braking, there are a few tips that you can try to improve your performance:

  1. Practice, practice, practice. The more time you spend on the track, the more comfortable you will become with the corner entry and braking process. Try to get as much seat time as possible, and focus on perfecting your technique on each lap.
  2. Focus on your line. The line you take through a corner can have a big impact on your ability to brake and turn effectively. Try to find a line that allows you to brake late and turn in smoothly, while still maintaining a good speed through the corner.
  3. Use all of the track. Don’t be afraid to use the full width of the track to your advantage. For example, you may want to use the outside of the track to set up for a turn, and then move to the inside of the track to turn and brake. This can help you to maximize your grip and maintain your speed through the corner.
  4. Use visual cues. As you approach a corner, look for visual cues that can help you to gauge your speed and position on the track. For example, you may want to look for specific landmarks or reference points that can help you to judge your distance from the apex of the turn.
  5. Be smooth and consistent. Finally, remember that smoothness and consistency are key when it comes to corner entry and braking. Try to be as smooth and consistent as possible in your inputs, and avoid making any sudden or jerky movements. This can help you to maintain control of the car and maximize your grip on the track.

8 – What can you learn from onboard tire monitoring systems, compared to taking measurements in the pits?

Onboard tire monitoring systems allow race teams to monitor the temperature and pressure of their tires in real-time, while the vehicle is on the track. This can provide valuable information that can help the team to optimize their tire strategy and make more informed decisions about tire management.

In contrast, taking tire measurements in the pits does not provide the same level of real-time information. When the team takes tire measurements in the pits, they are looking at the tire’s condition after it has been driven on for a certain period of time. This can provide valuable information, but it does not allow the team to make adjustments to the tire strategy in real-time.

One of the key benefits of onboard tire monitoring systems is that they can provide real-time feedback on the condition of the tires. This allows the team to make adjustments to the tire strategy based on the current conditions of the track and the tires. For example, if the team sees that the tires are starting to get too hot, they can make a decision to bring the driver in for a tire change or to adjust the tire pressure.

In contrast, taking tire measurements in the pits does not provide the same level of real-time feedback. When the team takes tire measurements in the pits, they are looking at the tire’s condition after it has been driven on for a certain period of time. This information can be valuable, but it does not allow the team to make real-time adjustments to the tire strategy.

Overall, onboard tire monitoring systems can provide valuable information that can help race teams to optimize their tire strategy and make more informed decisions about tire management. This can help the team to improve their performance on the track and achieve better results.

9 – Why do tyres not continue to heat up on track?

Tires do not continue to heat up indefinitely on a race track because the heat generated by the tire is eventually dissipated into the environment. As the tire rolls on the track, it generates heat due to the friction between the tire and the road. This heat is transferred from the tire to the air inside the tire, which causes the air temperature to rise.

However, the air inside the tire can only hold a certain amount of heat before it starts to dissipate into the environment. As the air temperature inside the tire rises, the heat is transferred from the air to the surrounding environment, which causes the tire temperature to stop rising.

In addition, the rate at which the tire heats up will depend on a number of factors, such as the speed of the vehicle, the weight of the vehicle, and the condition of the track. These factors can affect the amount of friction between the tire and the road, which can in turn affect the rate at which the tire heats up.

Overall, tires do not continue to heat up indefinitely on a race track because the heat generated by the tire is eventually dissipated into the environment. This helps to prevent the tire from overheating and losing grip, which can be dangerous on a race track.

10 – How can you interpret tyre temperature data taken in the pits?

When taking tire temperature data in the pits, there are a few key factors that you can use to interpret the data and make more informed decisions about your tire strategy:

  1. The overall temperature of the tire. The overall temperature of the tire can give you an idea of how hot the tire has been running on the track. If the tire temperature is too high, it may indicate that the tire is being overworked and is at risk of overheating. On the other hand, if the tire temperature is too low, it may indicate that the tire is not being used to its full potential and is not providing enough grip.
  2. The temperature distribution across the tire. The temperature distribution across the tire can give you an idea of how evenly the tire is being worn. If the temperature is higher on one side of the tire than on the other, it may indicate that the tire is not being used evenly and is wearing more on one side than on the other. This can be a sign that the tire is not providing consistent grip, and that the vehicle’s handling may be affected.
  3. The relationship between the tire temperature and the track temperature. The relationship between the tire temperature and the track temperature can give you an idea of how the tire is performing in relation to the track conditions. If the tire temperature is higher than the track temperature, it may indicate that the tire is overheating and losing grip. On the other hand, if the tire temperature is lower than the track temperature, it may indicate that the tire is not being used to its full potential and is not providing enough grip.

Overall, tire temperature data taken in the pits can provide valuable information that can help you to optimize your tire strategy and make more informed decisions about tire management. By carefully analyzing the temperature data, you can gain a better understanding of how the tires are performing on the track and make adjustments to improve their performance.

11 – How do you know if your tires are “heat cycled out” ?

“Heat cycling” is the process of repeatedly heating and cooling a tire, which can cause the tire to lose some of its performance and grip over time. “Heat cycling out” refers to the point at which a tire has been heat cycled to the point where it is no longer providing optimal performance and grip.

There are a few key indicators that can help you to determine whether your tires are “heat cycled out”. These indicators include:

  1. Reduced grip and traction. As a tire is heat cycled over time, the rubber compound that makes up the tire can start to break down, which can reduce its grip and traction. If you notice that your tires are not providing the same level of grip and traction as they did when they were new, it may be a sign that they are “heat cycled out”.
  2. Uneven wear. As a tire is heat cycled, the rubber compound can start to break down in different areas of the tire. This can cause the tire to wear unevenly, with some areas of the tire wearing more quickly than others. If you notice that your tires are wearing unevenly, it may be a sign that they are “heat cycled out”.
  3. Loss of air pressure. As a tire is heat cycled, the rubber compound can start to break down and become less resilient. This can cause the tire to lose air pressure more quickly than it did when it was new, which can affect its performance and grip. If you notice that your tires are losing air pressure more quickly than they did when they were new, it may be a sign that they are “heat cycled out”.

Overall, there are a few key indicators that can help you to determine whether your tires are “heat cycled out”. By paying attention to these indicators and monitoring the condition of your tires, you can help to ensure that your tires are providing optimal performance and grip on the track.

12 – Why do tires lose grip with more heat cycles?

Tires can lose grip with more heat cycles because the heat cycling process can cause the tire rubber to break down and become less resilient over time. When a tire is heat cycled, it is repeatedly heated and cooled, which can cause the rubber compound that makes up the tire to break down and lose some of its performance and grip.

The heat cycling process can affect the tire in a few different ways. First, the heat and stress of the heat cycling process can cause the rubber compound to become harder and less flexible. This can reduce the tire’s ability to deform and make contact with the road, which can reduce its grip and traction.

Second, the heat cycling process can cause the tire to lose air pressure more quickly than it would if it was not heat cycled. As the tire loses air pressure, it can become less resilient and more prone to deformities, which can reduce its grip and traction.

Finally, the heat cycling process can cause the tire to wear more quickly than it would if it was not heat cycled. As the tire wears, it can become thinner and less able to grip the road, which can reduce its performance and grip.

Overall, tires can lose grip with more heat cycles because the heat cycling process can cause the tire rubber to break down and become less resilient over time. By avoiding excessive heat cycling, it is possible to help maintain the performance and grip of the tire.

How Helpful Is ChatGPT for Tuning Track Tyres?

Tuning track tyres for most performance is tough. That is why it give you an opportunity in competition but also causes so much confusion when things don’t go as expected.

These ChatGPT answers are pretty impressive – in my humble opinion – but perhaps not always that accurate, helpful or actionable.

It is like asking someone who knows a lot about tuning track tyres but has never actually done it. They sound authoritative on the subject but then when it comes to putting the knowledge into practise, you can often feel no better off.

Have a go at asking it questions yourself. Note: if you try asking the same questions on tuning track tyres, it will give you a different answer. I’d be interested in what is says for you.

Grab a seat on my old-skool human taught Track Tyre Tuning Course here.

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