Basic SetupTry to develop for yourself a stock, or basic setup. These are the settings you should use every time you go to a new track, or anytime the conditions at your track are much different from normal (e.g. new dirt, new track layout etc). In most cases, your standard setup should be the kit settings. Manufacturers spend a lot of time establishing a good basic setup - trust them. If, however, you find some small changes that really suit your driving style, adopt them into your basic setup
Be an IndividualIt's good to share setup information with others - particularly if they're using the same equipment as you. It's important to recognize however, that each individual drives a little differently, and prefers a different balance to their car. Once you've reached a ballpark setup (usually tires, shocks and springs) do the fine-tuning on your own. Don't worry if you're not using exactly the same settings as the guy next to you - you're just as likely to be right as he/she is!
Write it downGet a notebook to take with you to the track. When you change your car make a note of what you changed, what affect the change had, and the track conditions at the time of the change. Pretty soon you'll build up a good database of information about what tuning adjustments do to your car's handling. Ideally, many manufacturers now produce blank setup sheets for their cars. These setup sheets let you mark all your settings in a simple, easy to understand manner. I'd suggest you grab a blank sheet, do some photocopies and keep them in a folder in your track box. Then after each race day you can make a note of what settings you ended up using and what the track conditions were like. Again - you'll soon build up a database of setups for different tracks and track conditions.
Don't be afraid to AskNever fear asking for help. If you've got some difficulty adapting your car to strange conditions, you're just not sure how to change it to get more steering (or less!) - ask. Most racers are happy to help those less experienced than them - until you start beating them! Look around for someone whose car is running hot - and ask him/her for advice.
Change one thing at a TimeOne of the most important rules of car set-up is to make changes one at a time. If you change tires, and suspension settings - how will you know which cured your steering problem? If you raise ride height and add a stiffer spring - how will you know which cured your jumping problem? My advice is to always make one change at a time - then try the car. If it doesn't work - change back, and try something else. This is the most effective way to track down the correct settings - and at the same time to learn about setting up your car.