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 Grand Prix 2 - Playing Guide

 
   
 
 
Grand Prix 2 - Playing Guide

All change:
-----------
Oh yeah, just drive round the track if you want. You might even win, if you set the 
other cars to novice level. Make them amateurs or professionals, though, and you 
might as well go home with your blonde motor racing girlfriend right now, 
because you'll be lucky to get in the points if you don't set your car up for each 
track.

It's easy, though, and you'll be amazed at the difference it makes. Take 
Hockenheim as an extreme example. We took the front wings up a little, took all 
rear downforce off completely, upped the fifth and sixth gear ratios by a couple of 
points and found another 20mph on the straights, qualifying five seconds quicker 
than before. Impressive, huh?
Here's the effect of each adjustment, but remember that every improvement has 
its corresponding downside. By way of an example, higher straight speeds result 
in slower cornering. 

1. Rear wing:
-------------
The rear wing gives the car downforce by creating drag. It reduces overall top 
speed but means quicker cornering. The effect is also related to speed. As the car 
slows, downforce is reduced.
On tracks with plenty of straights and few corners, reduce the rear wing to create 
less drag and a higher top speed. On the windy circuits, such as Monaco, give it 
some more, particularly during qualifying to get at the front of the grid. 

2. Front wing:
--------------
Because of the nature of air flow over the body of a car, the front wing doesn't 
actually add any drag, and is used simply to balance the vehicle. It does, however, 
alter airflow over the rear wing. Too much front wing produces less downforce on 
the rear wing, so make sure the front wing has a similar value to the rear. 

3. Gear ratios:
---------------
The gear ratio affects acceleration and top speed in each individual gear. If you've 
decreased the wing values to achieve a higher speed, increase the sixth gear ratio 
to make sure that the engine can get you to this velocity. Similarly, if you're 
accelerating and decelerating a lot, such as at the Hungaroring, reduce the ratios 
to get quicker acceleration at the expense of a lower top speed, a top speed that 
you're unlikely to reach anyway. 

4. Brake balance:
-----------------
This affects steering when coming into a corner. If you find that the car is 
stubbornly refusing to make the turn as the curve begins (understeering due to a 
lack of grip on the front tyres), move the brake balance to the rear. Similarly, 
move it to the front if you find yourself oversteering into the corner. 
Unfortunately, each time you shift the brake balance from the centre you need to 
brake a little bit earlier. Grand Prix adjustments are all about trial and error. 

5. Springs:
-----------
For optimum car handling, particularly braking into a corner, you need to try and 
keep your car as level as possible. Bumpy circuits, such as Montreal, can 
drastically reduce your traction unless you soften the rear springs. If you find 
yourself understeering on the bumps, you should also soften the front springs. Soft 
springs, particularly at the front, cause the car to dip forwards when you brake, 
reducing braking force and possibly causing the wheels to lock. Shift the brake 
balance a little to the rear to compensate for this. 

6. Ride height:
---------------
F1 cars have a 1cm thick wooden plank attached to the bottom of the body which 
may rub against the road unless you compensate for soft springs with a greater 
ride height. Dropping the ride height reduces drag even more than reducing the 
wing values, but if the plank ever makes contact with the track surface, you'll 
generate considerable friction. 

7. Dampers:
-----------
Dampers are used in conjunction with springs to control the car in bumpy 
conditions by keeping the tyres on the track. If you find yourself losing traction on 
the bumps, reduce the rear dampers. Increase them to compensate for 
oversteering. 

8. Anti-roll bars:
------------------
These come into play when you are cornering and your car attempts to roll away 
from the inside of the corner. The front and rear anti-roll bars work against each 
other. If you are understeering in long corners, soften the front anti-roll bars or 
stiffen the rear ones. Softer settings generally reduce tyre wear, improving traction 
and grip, but may result in less responsive handling and require a greater ride 
height to prevent the plank from rubbing.


Spot the difference:
--------------------
GP2 provides data logging to help you learn how car set-ups affect handling, and 
to help you decide what set-up to try next. The data logger starts when you first 
leave the pit lane and stops recording that lap when you either cross the finish line 
or re-enter the pit lane. When you eventually come back to the pits you can 
download this data and graph it, the idea being to compare it with laps you've 
raced previously.
The data recorder plots several different types of information. 

1. Brake
--------
Check the laps before and after set-up changes to see if you can now brake later 
into the corner. You can also use it without set-up changes to see if later or earlier 
braking helps you to take the corner better. 

2. Gear
-------
The gear graph is used to help understand the other values, such as a sudden 
change in revs. Superimpose it over some of the other graphs. 

3. Ride heights
---------------
There're actually four of these - one for each wheel. This is perhaps one of the 
most obvious ways of changing your car set-up. Bring all four ride heights up on 
screen and read off the lowest value plotted. If it showed 20mm, you can reduce 
the ride height by 10mm (the plank is 10mm thick) so that the car is as low as 
possible on the track without the plank ever catching the ground. 

4. RPM
------
The revs help to show how you are making use of the gears. Look out for the rev 
limiter cutting in on straights, where the graph levels out. Combat this by 
increasing the ratio for that gear. The revs should continue to increase right up 
until the next corner. 

5.Speed
-------
This graph helps you to see what straights and corners of the track are fastest. It 
should help you to adjust the anti-roll bars, springs and dampers. 

6. Steering demand
------------------
The steering demand plots turns into corners, with increasing values showing left 
turns. This graph is used in conjunction with speed, ride height and suspension 
travel to alter anti-roll bars and ride height, but can be helpful in assessing other 
adjustments. 

7. Suspension travel
--------------------
Once again, there are separate graphs for each wheel indicating how much the 
suspension is moving relative to the amount of travel possible. For instance, when 
the travel hits 0mm, the suspension is fully compressed. To make adjustments to 
your car, bring up the ride heights and find the lowest height on the track. Go to 
the corresponding suspension travel and check the distance. If it reads, for 
instance, 2mm, you know that you can add 2mm of packers in the advanced menu 
to prevent unnecessary suspension travel. It makes your car more responsive. 

8. Throttle
-----------
The throttle level can be quite misleading. Remember that if you lose traction the 
throttle level can blip misleadingly as it still represents poor car performance. 
What is much more useful is seeing if your last set-up change meant you could 
drive faster around a corner (higher revs) or that you were able to accelerate away 
from a curve sooner. 

9. Wheelspin
------------
Each of these four graphs shows the speed of the outside of the wheel, which will 
be the same as the speed of the car on level road and full traction. It's useful for 
seeing where you've lost traction, represented by sharp spikes in wheelspin, 
helping you to soften your suspension. Likewise, downward spikes show where 
the wheels are locking. 

So, with that in mind, here're what we've found to be the best basic combinations 
of brakes, wing and gear balances. They may not give you the fastest speed on the 
straights but overall they're pretty close to the finest settings we could find. We 
gratefully acknowledge the help of the rec.autos.simulators newsgroup and The 
No 1 Unofficial GP2 homepage at http://www.sax.de/~sts/_gp2.html in compiling 
this list. 

Wings and Brakes table 
Circuit Front Wing Rear Wing Brake Balance (F:R)
Brazil 14 4 34.250:65.750
Pacific 15 8 36.500:63.500
San Marino 15 8 40.000:60.000
Monaco 20 15 40.125:59.875
Barcelona 15 10 39.750:60.250
Canada 14 9 40.500:59.500
Magny Cours 17 11 40.000:60.000
Silverstone 20 13 40.000:60.000
Hockenheim 13 1 37.500:62.500
Hungaroring 20 14 40.000:60.000
Spa Francorchamps 11 9 42.500:57.500
Monza 15 2 40.250:59.750
Estoril 17 12 41.500:58.500
Jerez 20 13 40.250:58.750
Suzuka 18 12 40.625:59.375
Adelaide 20 13 40.250:59.750 

Gear ratios table
-----------------
Circuit 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 
Brazil 33:64 39:64 45:64 51:64 58:64 64:64
Pacific 20:64 27:64 36:64 45:64 53:64 60:64
San Marino 24:64 30:64 38:64 47:64 55:64 62:64
Monaco 19:64 26:64 33:64 40:64 47:64 55:64
Barcelona 27:64 34:64 41:64 49:64 55:64 61:64
Canada 25:64 33:64 40:64 48:64 54:64 60:64
Magny Cours24:64 30:64 36:64 42:64 51:64 59:64
Silverstone 24:64 30:64 37:64 43:64 51:64 59:64
Hockenheim 35:64 39:64 46:64 53:64 60:64 67:64
Hungaroring 28:64 34:64 41:64 46:64 51:64 55:64
Spa Francor 25:64 33:64 41:64 49:64 56:64 63:64
Monza 29:64 38:64 45:64 52:64 59:64 66:64
Estoril 24:64 31:64 39:64 46:64 53:64 60:64
Jerez 23:64 29:64 36:64 41:64 50:64 58:64
Suzuka 22:64 30:64 38:64 45:64 52:64 59:64
Adelaide 22:64 30:64 38:64 45:64 53:64 59:64 

Green means go:
---------------
0-100mph in a couple of seconds, then? Well, if you get it right. You've spent 
hours grinding round the track perfecting your car setup and (as Damon Hill 
seems to delight in showing us) then make a complete arse of yourself on the 
starting grid. A good start derives from keeping the revs as high as possible 
without letting the wheels spin. The perfect start can gain you many places and 
even win you the race outright on the tighter circuits like Monaco. When you start 
have the revs pretty much on max. Stab the accelerator as the wheels spin and 
change up gears as fast as possible. The computer cars tend to steer to the centre 
before drifting across onto the racing line so if you're feeling brave nip up the 
inside. Just make sure to brake in time and don't be afraid to use some crash gear 
changes at the start - here the gains generally outweigh the potential technical 
risks. 

Pitstops:
---------
In F1GP you required a 75% race distance before the computer cars would make 
pit stops but this has been reduced to 50% in GP2. Pit stops only really come into 
play in races over 50% full-length on the harder tyre-wearing circuits like 
Hungaroring. On a full length race you should generally go for two stops or, if 
you favour an extreme driving style on the twistier courses perhaps even three. 

Overtaking:
-----------
Overtaking is probably the area where GP2 has improved most over the first 
game. You'll need to be so much more careful if you're to avoid damaging your 
car by contact. The best overtaking places are (not surprisingly) at the sharp 
corners at the end of the straights. The key to these opportunities lies in the couple 
of corners preceding the entrance to the straight. You have to be as close to the 
car in front as possible (be aware of the reduced downforce if you get too close) 
and ready to follow him up the straight. As you enter his slip stream pull up close 
and dart out from behind him at the last possible minute. Brake as late as possible 
and swoop on round the corner, taking care not to go wide. Perfecting the late 
braking without flatspotting your tyres is the key to this classic, simple 
manoeuvre. 

Kerbs:
------
Some kerbs are there to be ridden - some are not. The Bus Stop kerbs on Spa look 
more like cliffs at 120mph but the Hockenheim chicanes are beautiful extensions 
to the tarmac. Consistent use of the high kerbs is not recommended and only 
necessary in some places. Using the majority of the lower, flatter kerbs is essential 
to cutting seconds off your lap. 

Driver Aids:
------------
These are here to help you and there's no shame in using them. When you first 
start playing the game (even if you are an F1GP veteran) it's probably best to 
keep them on for a lap of two. It probably wont take long before you want to turn 
them off and, indeed, doing so will greatly improve the speed at which you drive. 
The first to go should be the brakes (F1) as once you've learnt the circuit there's 
no need for them and the computer braking actually kicks in too early for the most 
part. The Self Correcting Spin (F3) and Indestructible (F4) should probably be 
eliminated together, as if you're confident about braking in time and under control 
you shouldn't be hitting anything round you. It's also highly advisable to hit F3 
when approaching and driving in the pits. There's absolutely no harm in having 
the Ideal Driving Line (F5) on all the time, especially if you are playing with the 
detail turned down which makes it harder to gauge the braking and turning in 
points. The Suggested Gear (F6) is vitally important to pay attention to once you 
have mastered braking. Keep it on and actively look at it and your rev counter as 
you round corners It's your final training helper before you go for the big one - 
turning off the gears (F2). Gearless racing will probably be an unrewarding 
experience at first. It's relatively easy to drive around changing up gears but 
synchronising changing down when approaching a hairpin with fully applying the 
brakes and trying to duck inside someone and not overshooting will take time. But 
that's why GP2 will be a game we're all playing in five years.
 

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