The practice of predictive lap timing is not new. Traditionally, circuit data logging systems used roll-ing distance to enable users to compare different laps to show where improvements can be made. This works well, but relies on the driver maintaining similar racing lines per lap to obtain a meaningful alignment and does not allow users to compare different lines or move off line to overtake a competitor.
UK based Racelogic have found a new method. Using their accurate Video VBOX data logger, they have found that using GPS position to align two laps is more accurate than using distance or time. This is then shown in real time on a high brightness OLED display in clear view of the driver. Racelogic claim this enables the driver to quickly understand the effects of different race techniques on overall lap times.
Although the position data itself may only be accurate to within a few meters, the typical average race speed is well in excess of 30m/sec, cutting errors to less than 1/10th of a second.
To demonstrate, Racelogic’s Founder, Julian Thomas, examines two laps of the 2.6km Silverstone National circuit recorded by a professional race driver: “The rolling distance variation was 11.6m even though the lap time difference was only 0.6 seconds,” he notes. “This equates to an alignment error when using distance of 0.3 seconds, even on a short track with a consistent driver. On a longer track with an inconsistent driver the error can be over a second.” Thomas adds, “But by using GPS position, updated 10 times a second, we can show the real time lap comparison accurate to within 1/10th of a second, regardless of the line taken by the driver or the length of the track.”
So how can race drivers and engineers make use of this data? Thomas explains: “With GPS offering such accurate data, we’ve found that drivers intuitively find ways of cutting times. They use it not only for qualifying, but also in endurance racing to maintain a consistent pace.” He adds: “For example, drivers can instantly see the very small but accumulative effect of following a car in the distance to pick up a slight slip-stream, and the effect of relaxing the steering wheel coming onto a straight. Drivers can also now instantly evaluate changes in driving line which is almost impossible when using the time/distance method.
Racelogic’s Video VBOX is now available as part of a predictive lap timing display package special offer. On display on Racelogic’s stand 4065 at the PMW show and priced at just £1,195 + tax, race drivers at all levels are set to benefit from the new technology.
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Racelogic design and manufacture electronic systems for the automotive, motorsport, marine, and GPS industries.
Since 1992 we’ve developed GPS data-loggers, Video overlay systems, GPS Simulators, CAN Interfaces and Traction Control from our UK base.