Data Driven–oh yeah baby!


High performance drivers often get coaching from professional racers. Of course, the traditional in-car instructor model that is de rigeur at most HPDE’s can also be supplemented by making video recordings of track sessions. There are many types of video systems that are suitable for this, but the best ones have software integrated that gathers and analyzes the movement of the vehicle using GPS positioning data. Several books have been written on data gathering techniques, interpreting the readings, and using that information to improve one’s skills and outcomes…ewwww. That sounds too doctorly.

Lets say that just helps your homegirl go faster man!

At the risk of exposing myself to be a total loon (which you guys already pretty much knew anyway) I decided to focus this brief post on data.

I have tried to read up on the “data interp. for dummies” in the past two days, but having one sick child at home, combined with two heavy duty clinic days packed with undergraduates who are not doing well, thrown on top of my track day exhaustion and speed withdrawal/hangover have rendered me incapable of absorbing any new information…In fact, I was kind of hoping to post it here and perhaps a couple of you REAL fast drivers will help me understand it beyond the rudimentary stones and bones.

Sooooooo   (drum roll please)….Ladies and Gentlemen…..

Here it is in all its alleged glory.

Huh? Yeah. Ya got me. The green bits are linear acceleration, the yellow bits are lateral acceleration as seen in picture 1. In pic 2 you will discover I’m a wannabe SMOOTH driver (right MikeJim?).  In pic 3 you will see that although my lap times seem to last as long as the pleistocene age, Monsieur Le Mans will vouch that I have dropped about 5 seconds from my last track day.  Also, that in order to catch up to a friend’s (drives an old 911 SC) record times on this track, I have to lose another 17.8 seconds, if I recall correctly. WAY way way easier said than done.

However, may I just share something?  In July 2014, which is the first time anyone clocked my lap time (yes, it WAS the love of my life, hubby Big T) it was close to … erp….3:47.  Miraculously, when I measured the lap times in September with the suave 007 as my instructor, I had dropped to lap times around 2:52 to 3:30 range…so yeah, pretty inconsistent. Yes, remember, you promised not to laugh!

Then, with Mr. Le M, I discovered that much to my surprise that my laps were starting to become much more consistent, with my shortest times being 2:49. Which, of course gave me some cause for hope.

As you can see in photo 3, I’ve dropped my lap times to 2:45 being my fastest, but, more importantly I’ve become far, far more consistent.

photo 2photo 2harry'slaptimerNov162014

photo 1  photo 3photo 1

So, that’s what I’m proudest of: consistency and (relative) smoothness.  The bottom row shows two graphs on the left that are very squiggly lines. In fact, I believe that is the correct technical term for them. And the one on the right shows that I was able to hit my fastest lap twice, so it was definitely not a fluke. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Next Up: Mischief Managed

2 thoughts on “Data Driven–oh yeah baby!

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