Decades ago studying a driver, his style, his lines, braking/acceleration techniques etc was extremely difficult and required personal presence or evidence of some sort. (video/audio recordings)
Thanks to technology, nowadays we can dig really deep into what we could do differently on track, which one of our habits we should look into changing, what impact did the change in the angle of our rear spoiler had in our lap etc etc etc and ultimately HOW WE CAN BECOME FASTER!
Note: What i am describing above is just the start of the rabbit hole. The deeper you go and the more information you have about your car and the dynamics of your driving, the more you can investigate. And as you build that knowledge base in your head you will suddenly be able to go even faster with different cars, more consistently, more quickly and safer.
So lets get to it.
Types of DAS (Data Acquisition Systems)
GPS Based Lap Timers
Devices such as the AIM Solo 2/ Solo DL or the whole series from Racelogic like their VBOX Laptimer, VBOX Sport, PerformanceBox or the drifting oriented DriftBox are some of the most mainstream systems used at the moment.
What they essentially are doing is to record your driving with the help of built in accelerometers, IMUs and also satellite datas.
All of the them have a LED screen to show you real time lap-times and predictive laptiming as well.
That means that during your session you always have an idea of how you are performing and in the case of the predictive laptiming you can also see live how your driving affects your laptime. Maybe an overtake you had to do or something you tried on a specific corner etc.
But that is not the end. The beauty with this systems is not what they can do on track but all they allow you to see after you are finished and have access to a computer.
Both of the companies mentioned above (which i have personally used quite a lot in the past) have their own dedicated software.
Some easier to navigate than others, some with their quirks, some with MacOs compatibility, they all have their good and bad points and it all boils down to personal preference.
What am i looking at?
In case you are totally new to using this stuff let me quickly explain what you are seeing in the picture above.
Top left: That is your Laptimes from your driving sessions.
Top right: Video associated to your driving but at the moment this is disabled.
Bottom left: The map of the track, so you always have an idea of the point you were when tracking through the laptime graph
Bottom right: This is your laptime graph. This shows you the different data you ask from the software. Speed, RPM, steering wheel angle, braking power, longitudinal and lateral G force acceleration and basically hundreds more of data depending on the sensors you have on your vehicle.
That is the screen you basically learn to read and navigate in order to bring your laptimes down. (More on that on another post and video)
Now that you are starting to get how this kind of technology and devices can help, let me introduce an obstacle to this curve of improvement. Memory.
And i am not talking about any kind of device expandable memory but our very own memory.
Looks good! What else?
Analysing data alone can be useful in terms of absolute numbers (i.e. compare top speeds, cornering speeds, braking efficiency and more) but this makes for only half of the picture.
The other half comes in being able to recollect what happened and how these numbers occurred. And this is where video comes in.
That said, you can have any of the laptiming systems we examined before and just carry a camera of your preference with a decent mount. Yes that can certainly work but it takes a bit more time to synchronise your laps with the video and is not so.. well integrated.
Looking at the companies mentioned above, AIM offers the Smarty Cam HD to add to your Solo 2 system to make up for video/data integrated system.
Racelogic on the other hand offers a whole new range of products named Video Vbox. They have been longer in this game and their systems feel somehow more complete with dual cameras, more robust materials, better IP protection for open wheel cars and brighter OLED lights.
Another very good company with good products and constant development is the German Race-navigator brand. They also have a very broad range of products which is very much worth examining and looking into.
So what is extra now?
As you can see in the picture above, we now also have video on the top right quarter of the screen as we explained earlier.
At a closer look we can see that there are details referring to the RPM of the engine, the steering wheel position, the gear selected, TPS as well as brake force, difference in time between the two laps and laptime.
Now we are getting somewhere and with all this information we can now dig quite deep into our driving!
As a performance driving coach, having video along with the data is mandatory in order to be able to coach remotely.
Racelogic VideoVbox HD2 Sample
Another great thing with the use of technology and those data acquisition systems is that you still can get the help of a professional or a person that you trust and knows how to read this data, even if they were not there with you at the time or inside the car.
This is a real problem solver for when time and distance does not allow me to be at certain places or in the case of COVID-19 where passengers are not allowed inside a car.
Are you new or thinking of investing into such kind of equipment for your personal improvement and don’t know what to get?
Are you familiar or own any equipment and need help with reading the data, setting up your car, software or need remote coaching?
Whatever your need you are guaranteed to have a solution. All you need to do is email me with your enquiry at email@example.com or simply push the button below!