Racers are always trying to find just a little more speed every corner. To do that, you need to experiment with brakes, throttle, line, etc. But how do you know what works and what doesn’t? Is it better to change to 2nd gear or stay in 3rd? Is it better to take a double apex or single? It’s critical to ask these kinds of questions all the time. If only you could try different strategies and get immediate feedback… you can, and it’s darn simple.
One of the best driver training tools is a predictive lap timer. This tells you if your speed is increasing or decreasing compared to your previous best lap. The least expensive option is to get an app for your smartphone but the dedicated devices work better. I personally own an Autosport Labs Race Capture / Pro, RumbleStrip Racing Products DLT1-GPS, and Track Systems Technologies TraqMate. All of them are excellent products, and there are several others on the market. To use a predictive timer, check the time on the way in to a corner, try a new line, and then check it again on the way out. If your new line was better, the time will decrease.
In the following video, which was taken last week at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the Lucky Dog Racing League, you can see a RumbleStrip DLT1-GPS in action (it’s the black box on the dash with the red numbers). The upper number is the time delta. The lower number is speed (MPH). Oh, and the video is queued up to me driving! It was only my 2nd time at Mazda Raceway, so it was useful to have a predictive timer help me refine my line.
There’s always a crash video on YSAR, so here’s one that happened right in front of me (the delta is pretty extreme if you look at the timer — that’s because this happened on my first lap).
The track had sand bags on the aprons to protect from water (supposedly it rains in California in the Winter). That’s what happens when you hit one. Dude, next time, pay attention in the driver’s meeting! I’m patting myself on the back for not getting caught up in that mess.