I want to stop and talk about a cheap, simple data system radically improved my results when I was just starting out. It helped me pinpoint exactly what I was doing right on the track and what I was doing wrong.
It’s a simple data acquisition app that goes right on your phone or tablet. It’s called Harry’s Lap Timer.
No more guessing or theorizing. Not only did I know exactly what to improve, I was also able to look at it on the screen of my smart phone or tablet. Pretty cool right?
To put the cherry on top: the whole thing only costs about $9. How can you argue with that? For the sake of full disclosure I use the full, $30 version. But you don’t need it.
In this article I’m going to show you:
- Why you might need to stop following the fast guys.
- Why a scientific process can give you quick improvements.
- Why a $9 digital coach is arguably the best investment you can make.
Data System VS Guessing
Why is it so important to use data instead of just guessing? Before I answer let me ask you question: do you know what guessing is? Guessing is exactly the same thing as hoping. And that’s not what you want to do when you’re at the track.
For those of us who are just starting out and are still learning seat feel it can be frustrating. During a single lap or autocross pass it’s hard to tell where that half a second actually came from. And if you don’t know where it came from you can’t replicate it – and it’s lost forever.
With a simple data system your run is recorded and presented in a way you can see. When you can see it you can prove exactly what works and what doesn’t. You can use this real information to get real results – real fast.
Everyone wants to be faster. So the natural inclination is to do whatever the fast guys are doing. This is what I like to call monkey vision or crowd tuning. I see you doing it so I’ll do it too.
But what’s fast for an experienced driver in a Miata is not the same for a rookie in a ZO6.
The Data System Advantage
Track walks are a great way to learn from other drivers and make a plan for yourself – so long as you keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to do what the fast guys are doing.
Having cheap onboard data will allow you to see data customized exactly to you. It’s like having a personal coach every single minute of the day.
One of the biggest advantages of using a data system is that you can look at more than one lap simultaneously. You can easily compare your fastest lap and your previous lap (or any other lap). The data system will lay one lap on top of the other where you can see exactly what’s happening.
Why were you faster on your fast lap? The system might show that you braked earlier, carried more momentum through a string of corners, or that apexing later was the key.
Once you can see why you were faster on a previous lap you can simply begin doing that on every lap. Eventually, after finding 4-5 areas of improvement and implementing them into your future laps, you’ll begin to see much better lap times.
Gang Boss Data
Every club seems to have a hot-shoe – that one driver who always bests everyone else. Who just popped into your head? That’s the guy! He’s your club’s gang boss.
If he’s a nice guy (he probably his) your data system can give you a massive advantage. Toss the keys to your gang boss (nobody says no to keys) and have him blast a few hot laps in your car.
When he’s done you’ll be able to overlay his best lap with your best lap. You’ll instantly see exactly why and where the gang boss is faster than you in your own car.
All you have to do then is implement that information.
The other great thing about gang boss data is that his coaching doesn’t stop when he gets out of the car. You can hang onto his fast lap data and continue using it until you’ve mastered his techniques.
One of the best features of Harry’s Lap Timer is it’s versatility. It can easily be used at a single-day autocross event, your local circle track, the drag strip, or road course.
Analyzation of your data so easily understood and quickly accessed that you can view it on the grid between autocross runs. This will effectively improve the remaining runs of your race day.
Another great feature is that you can bluetooth your lap data to your friends who are also using the app. This is a surefire way to quickly collaborate and bring a group of people up to speed with minimal time invested.
Learning From Those Who Know More Than You
I’m adamant about learning from people who have already mastered what you’re struggling with. It just doesn’t make sense to flounder around trying to figure out something which someone can simply teach you. While I highly recommend you continue doing that you’ll also want to consider using data.
Finding people who can show you and tell you what to do is great. But by using a data system you’ll be learning how to coach yourself – a skill that will remain with you forever.
This is all for just $9 dollars. To put that into perspective that’s .000225% of the average American’s income. I dare say there aren’t any excuses left that can justify not having a data system.