Better Track Driving Through Technology

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

When the Traqmate system came out a decade or so ago, it revolutionized the way that low-and-mid-budget racers measured and improved their performance as drivers. All of a sudden it was possible to understand why you were faster or slower in a given situation. It’s now become such a standard that major sanctions like the Canadian Touring Car Championship use it to measure and adjust competitiveness across different chassis and engine combinations.

Last year, TTAC partnered with the people at Autosport Labs to test their Race/Capture system in our infamous race that wasn’t. Although somehow our RaceCapture system never returned from Texas, with all hands professing puzzlement about its ultimate disposition, I was able to use the RaceCapture prior to that race, in a coaching session with Chris Dyson and the Autosport Labs people. Using the system’s live-tracking features, I was able to immediately take ten seconds off my lap time in a single coaching session.

This year, Autosport Labs has a brand-new system and the spec sheet is enough to make a grown club racer shed a couple of tears in gratitude. There isn’t space to list everything that the new RC/2 does, but it’s capable of interfacing with your car to read engine data and tire temperature data in conjunction with your lap. Don’t know if it’s a problem with air-fuel ratio or aero drag slowing your acceleration on Mid-Ohio’s back straight? This system will tell you.

Using 50Hz GPS, the system promises to record to most accurate and consistent lap times yet — and as someone who suffered through a lot of trouble with the solid but fussy TrackMaster Android program at the Challenger Hellcat intro, I’d appreciate having better and more consistent GPS data.

Alright, this sounds like a sales pitch, and it is. Not necessarily for RaceCapture/2, but for any kind of high-quality data logging. You’ll learn more and progress faster as a track driver with solid data. Traqmate and RaceCapture are so good now that it’s possible to coach via e-mail — send me your data traces and I can probably offer a couple of ideas on how to go faster. The high-end private coaches like Peter Krause are doing all of their coaching now with observation and data. Why get in the right seat when you can make someone faster from the comfort of pit lane?

When RC/2 is in full production, we’ll be checking it out somewhere on the West Coast where we can generate some serious g-forces and hard numbers. If you can’t wait until, I’d recommend buying RaceCapture from Autosport Labs online — or checking out the pawnshops near College Station, TX.

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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  • Robbie Robbie on Sep 29, 2014

    Robert Farago, Ed Niedermeyer, Bertel Schmitt, Jack Baruth: all of them made TTAC great and a joy to read, each in their own personal style. But right now, TTAC has become soulless. It is just a list of articles now. It always was more than just that. Bring back Baruth!

  • Racerxlilbro Racerxlilbro on Sep 29, 2014

    Mr. Baruth, sir - I will happily volunteer the use of my Formula Ford (SoCal based) for a test-day with one of these systems. I've used laptimers for years, but have always felt like a little more data would help a LOT. This is my next big purchase for the car...

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