Why Do Racing Drivers Pay So Much Attention To Data?

Illustration for article titled Why Do Racing Drivers Pay So Much Attention To Data?

Ever notice the myriad gizmos and gadgets that drivers attach to their cars before heading out on track? In addition to the ever-present GoPro, tools like the AiM Solo and RaceKeeper can capture a ton of data. What is it used for, and why should you care?

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Here’s a good overview of in-car, on-track data from Porsche Club of America high performance driver’s education instructor Michael Gerowitz. Capturing data on braking, acceleration, lap times and more can help point out things to improve that you’d otherwise miss when relying on memory or video alone. G-meters and other data overlays don’t just look cool when exported to YouTube—they can actually help you become a faster, more consistent driver.

Read all about the ways that adding a data system in your track or race car can help you get faster on MultiBriefs via PCA E-Brake News.

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Photo credit: Michael Gerowitz


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.

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DISCUSSION

Something that most track people don’t like to admit/think about/acknowledge is that most of the time they are not doing what they think they are doing and you can’t hide from data. I’ve had many drivers swear blind that they are turning in at ‘x’ point and throttling at ‘y’ point and being hopelessly and completely wrong. There is a LOT going on in a car at speed on a track and chances are you are not doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Despite what you may think.

Even some drivers that call themselves Pro are not doing what they need to be correctly or 100% of the time. I’ve had a lot of ‘handling problems’ that I’ve fixed by a quiet word and pointing to some graphs and a ‘get your shit together’ discussion have made magically become cured despite no changes to the car...

So data and video is the only way to get it right. Your video should be looking over your shoulder so it can see out the windshield and also see your hands. Early turn in and other mistakes are far more obvious from steering wheel position (and change in rate of turn of the wheel) than in where you are physically on the track.