This guide contains recommended online lobby settings from someone who has played in too many online races.
Tips for Online Lobby Settings
Lobby Creation Tips
Here are some tips for creating a good lobby:
"Wait for race ready input": On
This one is critical. You need to give drivers an opportunity to set their fuel levels, tire pressures, etc.
"Damage type": ?
If you want to set damage On, consider scheduling a pit stop. This gives a driver the opportunity to repair his car without the added time penalty associated with a pit stop. In other words, if everyone has to pit, then the damage repair penalty is only the time it takes to fix the damage. Personally, I wouldn't set damage On with a "U" rated lobby.
"Pit stop errors": Off
Never set this one to On. All it does is add random time to a pit stop... up to 30 seconds. There's enough random bugs in this game without introducing more random penalties. If you are scheduling pit stops, make sure this is set to Off to make it fair for everyone.
This is basically a waste of time. It adds an approximate 5 to 8 minute "dead time" between practice and qualifying where no one can join the lobby. It makes more sense to schedule a longer qualifying session. Every lap counts and no "dead time" between sessions.
"Maximum grid size": ?
Keep in mind that by using the maximum of 32, you are not only taxing your system, you are preventing some tracks from being selected since they don't have accommodations for 32 garage/grid spots.
"Fill with AI opponents": Off
Why? We can play against bots offline. Only noobs turn this "ON" in an online race.
"Opponent field type": Same class
Unless you want to do a single-class race. I've seen so many lobbies migrate to a host that has this set to "Identical". This basically breaks the lobby.
"Force default setups": No
Some people are under the impression that this makes a race "fair". It's actually just the opposite. Some cars have a fantastic default setup and some cars have a miserable default setup. So, you're creating an environment that favors certain cars over others. That's not fair. The only time this makes sense is if you set a single-class race.
"Track limit penalties / rules and penalties": On
There is no reason to turn this off unless you want to encourage cheating.
"Min competitive license required": ?
Consider setting something besides "U". You'll get better drivers. There will always be plenty of "U" lobbies out there where beginners can improve their safety rank, but my experience is that virtually all lobbies are "U" rated. Ramp it up a bit to encourage drivers to improve their rank.
"Time of day": ?
Personal preference here, but to me it makes sense to have the qualifying and race take place at the same time of day and with the same conditions. I personally set 'time progression' to Off so that there is no advantage/disadvantage depending on when you qualify (since time of day affects track grip levels).
"Start type": Standing
Rolling starts are bugged, sadly. Especially in the back of the field. I've seen too many races where half the field are given penalties due to bugged rolling starts.