How to Make a Winning Race Car Setup 

Wanting the best possible performance out of your car? 

Looking to start winning races and even… championships?! 

Then look no further: in this guide, we’ll teach you all the basics you need in order to build a highly successful race car! 

Performance Engineering 

Performance engineering is motorsport engineering that focuses on performance and the overall improvement of the race car/driver. Performance engineers might be involved in many aspects of the development, such as design, testing and setup. In general, performance engineering contributions to the design of the car come as guidelines for improvement because something isn’t working as efficiently as it was meant to be, it can then be changed to ensure that it optimises performance. These factors can be decided based on performance analysis of previous races and test events.  


Experimentation is a fundamental part of the vehicle’s characterisation process. In the real world, data is collected which makes it easier to tell which parts of the car are working efficiently and which parts aren’t so much. You can also use experimental methods such as wind tunnels for aerodynamics, an engine dynamometer, or a shaker rig which vigorously tests the race cars’ suspension setups. These tests should ensure that the optimum level of performance is being output from your race car.  

Data Analysis 

When analysing data in motorsport, it’s key to analyse all areas of the car to get an overall good performance rather than having good tyre data with no engine data. This is important as some aspects of the car work together so they both need to be equally as good as it may end up hurting the other part’s performance or even end up breaking it! 

The experimentation tools will provide you with data about the performance of the driver/car combination. Whether you are analysing data about the car or the driver, motorsport data analysis will have lots of ways to assist you with what needs to be changed for the car. 

Car Performance

When it comes to car performance, there are four major elements: braking, cornering, grip limited acceleration, and power/drag limited acceleration. All of these elements come together to produce the lap time of the car. Most of the time, race cars will spend more time when the lower speed elements such as braking, cornering and grip limited acceleration, this typically means that it is best to spend more time improving these elements as it will make the most difference in time on the track. However, sometimes the high-speed element, power/drag acceleration, is best to improve due to high-speed tracks with very few corners. For example, Monaco as a track features 18 corners meaning it demands focus on the low-speed performance. This means that improving the cars’ low-speed attributes would be optimal. However, at Monza, the track is characterised by only 11 corners and extensive straightaways, this then makes it optimal to focus on improving the high-speed attributes as it is more beneficial to that track. 

This was just a small snippet to making a great race car, but these are the basic guidelines and starting blocks to get a championship-winning race car!  

Hopefully, this helped you to become the next big-time racer or even engineer!