Heat Online Thunder Alley Guide

Heat Online Thunder Alley Guide by Carlover121

Oval tracks:   The trick here is to hug the inside of the curves, and release your grip on the steering wheel near the end of the curves and let your car veer towards the outside wall in order to get the most speed in the straights.  As an illustration, your optimal racing line would look like this:

Sunbay track with exaggerated racing line ( to illustrate my point )
* = racing line,   _  = outside wall

_         *******************************************        _                                                                                                                                                  _          *                                 backstretch                                      *         _
_        *                                                                                                *       _
_        *                                                                                                 *        _
_       *                                                                                               *       _
_       *                                                                                          *      _
_       *                                                                                   *   _
_   *                                                                            * _
_ ********                                         ****** _
——–        **************     ——-

The optimal racing line for any oval track will vary slightly depending on which car you are driving, as well as how much fuel you have in your tank (More on strategies regarding fuel later in this guide).  In general, you want to be near the wall on straights and hugging the inside yellow line in the curves.

HOWEVER!  The optimal racing line only applies when you are not in the middle of a passing frenzy!   Speaking of passing…….

Passing etiquette on ovals!
Much of any TA race on an oval track will be spent passing and being passed.  When your car is trailing another car at high speed, you will notice a “tunnel” behind the lead car extending about 200 feet.  This visual tunnel represents a vacuum, or lack of air.  This is beneficial to the trailing car, because the lead car has pushed the air out of the way and thus lessened the air resistance for the trailing car.  As a result, racers will trail and then “slingshot” their way into the lead.  At that point the leading car(s) become the trailing car(s) and do the same thing.   This is very common at the beginning of races, especially sunbay, where cars are clustered together and it is very easy to do this.

Make sure to let other racers pass!   Passing should be done on the inside, and when you realize you are going to be passed it is proper to veer towards the outside of a curve or straightaway.   The optimal racing line only applies when there are no other racers in the immediate vicinity; proper passing etiquette takes precedence over the optimal racing line when multiple racers are in close proximity to one another.
Fuel Management:  Unlike VS where the fuel gauge represents nitro, it represents actual fuel in TA.  Fuel management is very important, especially in the longer races where there may be one or more pit stops involved.   You will notice that your car runs faster when there is less fuel in your tank.  If you run out of fuel, your car will still drive but have a top speed of 60-80 MPH!   Experience will tell you how many laps you can get out of a full tank of fuel, I.E. 17/18 laps on sunbay with an intimidator, 16 laps on sunbay with a pro.  There are useful trunk items which extend the life of a fuel tank, such as engine 20% and fuel 30%, more info on trunk items later in this guide!

When you make a pit stop for fuel, don’t fill the tank to 100% unless you have to!  For example, if you are racing 40 laps on sunbay with an intimidator,  you can get 17/18 laps out of your initial full tank.  Since you have to pit twice, fill to 5/8 each time to maximize your cars’ effectiveness and keep your lead,  IE pit on lap 18, fill to 5/8, then pit on lap 29, fill to 5/8, as an example.  This way you spend most of the race with a car that has half tank or less of fuel, and thus as fast as it can be.   Let’s say you are involved in a 30 lap race on sunbay with a pro. DO NOT make the mistake of thinking “It is a 30 lap race, I will pit on lap 15 and fill ‘er up”!   On said 30 lap race, pit on lap 16/17, take less than a full tank, maybe ¾, so that you spend less time filling up as well as enjoying faster lap times due to the lower weight of your car!  Long races on oval tracks are WON AND LOST due to pit strategy!

One additional note on pitting:  since this is not real life but rather a videogame, the FASTEST way to get through the pits is to race at full speed close to the electronic billboard which states “pit speed 55 mph” (or something like that), and slam into a wall to bring your car from 180 mph to 55 mph in record time!   If this maneuver is executed correctly, you will gain more time on your opponents than a perfect race line driver could possibly hope for.  Also, there is a trunk item labeled “radar jammer” which allows a racer to cruise through the pit at 62/63 mph rather than being penalized at 54.5 mph!   Avoid drive through penalties as they WILL cost you a victory!

Ramming:   Don’t do it!   The regulars in the TA community know one another, and there is a level of respect between those of us who race TA on a consistent basis.  If one decides to ram and be a clown, they will be quickly shunned by the TA veterans, and as such, it would be nigh impossible for said clown to win anything because us regulars will work together to make sure the life of a clown is  difficult one!  We welcome all racers, except those who think that this is SUMO unleashed!  If you want to play sumo, start a sumo room.   Thunder Alley is not the place for that kind of thing!

Tuning chip/balance:
Overall, taller gears (VMAX) is better, because it allows for greater flexibility in fuel management.   Running lower RPM gives greater fuel efficiency, while running high RPM allows more power overall.  The proper balance between power and fuel efficiency is decided on the race course and the number of laps therein, a 15 lap race on sunbay with a pro should be focused on power, whereas a 35 lap race on sunbay with an intimidator should be focused on efficiency, so that a racer only has to pit once instead of twice!  Most chip/balance settings can be avoided for oval racing!   The most important setting is gearing for all oval tracks!   For road courses (I.E. Nord) your car should be set for maximum grip and maximum aero for the front.   The first 3 levels of TA cars (Rookie, Pro, Intimidator) are notorious for understeer,  one would want to mitigate these problems by tuning for maximum OVERSTEER to counteract the natural tendencies of these cars I.E. set for 100% grip to front, 100% aero to front.   The dominator has superhuman cornering abilities, and as such should be tuned for your personal racing style.   When you are lucky enough to drive the Thunder, maximize that opportunity!   It is the most balanced, well felt race car in the game!   Tune to win in any car you race in TA, the most important setting for any TA car is GEARING!  For the rookie I use 75% VMAX, all others I set to 100% VMAX.

Trunk items:

Most races in TA will be long, and as such, using RP/XP doublers is a must.  The Rookie only has 3 trunk slots, and if you use 1 for RP and 1 for XP that only leaves 1 slot for any performance enhancer of you choice!  That’s OK, it is better to get 2nd place with 3000 rp/xp than 1st place with 1500!  (Championship events are different, trunk to win!)  In any case, the trunk items that are most critical to success are fuel consumption reduction 30%  (icon of gas container with 30% labeled), and engine 20% (engine icon with red/blue underlines), as well as radar jammer!  Radar jammer allows one to cruise through the pits at a good 7-8 mph faster, as well as having looser guidelines for breaking the rules (if you simply kiss 64-65 mph just for a brief second you wont be penalized)!  Excellent running gear helps on tracks like meela and livenport where suspension plays a role on the rough surfaces of the curves.   Depending on trunk size, the fast fuel filler trunk items help a lot, especially when there are multiple pit stops involved!

Again, a lot of your personal preferences in terms of trunk, tuning, and racing will be gained from experience!   This guide is to share my experience and hope others will enjoy Thunder Alley as much as I do!   See you on the course!

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