“If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.” – Mario Andretti
Whether you’re Lewis Hamilton racing the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 car, or simply a car enthusiast that enjoys the occasional arrive-and-drive track weekend, using data can be extremely beneficial.
When millions of dollars are on the line and the milliseconds begin to add up after each lap, you can believe there is a team of engineers sitting behind a computer sifting through the data working out how to drop those lap times.
Live Data Collected from the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team:
For the less invested weekend track goer there are several apps you can download onto your smartphone that act as a data acquisition system collecting lap by lap data. The best app I’ve found so far to do this is Track Attack, which acts as a GPS lap timer, HD video recorder, and datalogger. What makes this app so valuable is that it allows you to overlay multiple laps from your track session so you can compare your performance.
“The data tells me two things, how the car is performing along with how I’m driving. I can use this to see where the car’s limits are and then see where I’m braking, how many G’s I’m using in corners and where I’m accelerating to see if I’m optimizing the car’s performance.” – David Coutu
If you’re looking to get a bit more serious about the data acquisition system in your car, there are a number of systems sold by AIM that can fit a variety of budgets. These systems are great as they connect directly to your dashboard and provide live data depending on which viewing options you have selected. After your session on the track is over you can connect your AIM system to your laptop to dive even deeper into the data. My favorite feature about these data acquisition systems is that when partnered with an AIM camcorder you can watch your laps with the live data displayed on the screen so you can see how you were doing during each part of your lap.
Big Data in Formula 1 Infographic: