Tag Archives: Racing Line

Why GPS based data logging is not bad at all?

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There are a lot of rumors and myths concerning GPS based data logging systems and most people reject it as a useful data source. Some drivers question the lap timing accuracy and reliability. Others claim that the racing line drawings and positioning precision is useless in karting. Actually the most common cause for problems is that they are “holding it wrong” or just using the wrong piece of equipment!

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If you are already asking yourself “What do those RaceCloud guys mean by holding it wrong?” we are about to reveal the mystery.

Global Positioning Systems use radio signals to locate your position by sending information from satellites in the sky to your receiver. Obviously as a result the position precision depends on the signal quality, the number of satellites in range, the class of your receiver and hardware architecture. Well, you cannot easily improve the hardware you’ve got but you can influence the other factors.

Unfortunately the strength of the signal you get from the satellites cannot be easily improved either. In fact by the time it reaches your receiver it is extremely weak. However that is not a problem as long as it is clear of other noise and distortion, which actually causes most of the problems. In karting, for example – simply using a spark plug and spark plug boot without an integrated resistance dramatically increases the noise levels and as a result reduces the signal’s quality.

The key to having good reception is the GPS antenna itself. Since positioning relies solely on measuring signal reception time it requires unobstructed view to the signal’s source (direct line of sight from the receiver to the satellite). In other words – the antenna needs a clear view to the sky at all times. Any objects that cover its horizon will reduce the number of satellites in view, the signal quality and strength, and so will generate lower accuracy of the calculated position. Also nearby objects cause signals to “bounce” and degrade receiver performance even further by fooling the electronics into thinking they’ve got your location just right but in fact it is few meters away.

This is what we call the “holding it wrong” factor – finding the right location and mounting the GPS antenna. You are already asking “What could go wrong with this one?”, aren’t you? Well, fair number of things. Have you ever asked yourself why the RaceCloud BUNDLE’s Go-Kart MOTION is dedicated for mounting on the nose and should be there? Simply to be always on top and have the better part of 360* view from the top plane of the module to the sky. This guarantees the best possible visibility to the constellation of satellites in the sky. Remember what we mentioned in the previous paragraph – this is how you improve the GPS signal quality. For example if you place the GPS antenna upside-down, mount any additional equipment obstructing it (camera etc.) or locate it under a metal or other solid objects (like the steering wheel, foiled bodywork or chassis and frame elements) the device will have limited reception or will receive reflected signals – all leading to incorrect location being reported. Furthermore – mounting the antenna on a detail which is moving (steering wheel for example) constantly changes the visible part of the sky and satellites in view. All that put together – you can have 10-13-15 satellites when you are in the pit and still have very poor signal quality on the track or vice versa. In fact on number of occasions we have seen that having 6-7 satellites with very good signal quality gives far better performance than 12 with average strength. Taking a look at the figure bellow you will find a few incorrect locations and mounting of the GPS antenna (in red) and the right way to do it (in green).

GPS Mounting OK

GPS Mounting NOT OK

The signal received by the GPS contains a very precise time stamp generated by atomic clocks on board the satellites. RaceCloud uses that information to calculate your lap timing to achieve milliseconds precision. If any of the listed above factors have been neglected, you will end up not only with incorrect racing line, but inaccurate lap and sector timing too. It may even miss counting some laps completely, if the interference is so great that the receiver thinks you haven’t crossed the start/finish or split line.

And here comes the good part! If you are holding the right tool in your hands and you are holding it as your manufacturer advised, you will get an awesome positioning accuracy (expect horizontal accuracy of 90 down to 20 centimeters) and lap timing precision within just a few thousands (0.00x) or 1-2 hundredths (0.0x) of a second. Well, this is what you can expect from a RaceCloud… we cannot guarantee that for other data loggers.

Improving driver’s behavior within the racing line

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Academy_HeaderImproving driver’s capabilities and achieving better results and performance have always been the core of motorsports and ever since its creation people are trying to find the easiest, the fastest and the most effective way to do this. There have been a lot of different approaches through the years in pursuit of speed, but the driver’s behavior within the racing line have always been the essential part. And what defines the racing line itself are the crucial points of driver interaction. Finding the best braking, turn-in and acceleration points is a desired goal activating people’s creativity in making the drivers follow them. The history remembers a lot of interesting and inspired ideas – from marking those spots on the tarmac, through standing next to the track and showing them to the driver to creating a visual mind markers inside the driver’s head. And now, since we’re into the 21st century it is time for RaceCloud to once again create something innovative and bring driver coaching to a completely new level!

What’s the meaning of all the data and information if the driver can’t realize what to change and when to do it? This is why with RaceCloud Academy you will be able to effortlessly find the weakest spots in driver’s behavior within the racing line and correct them by showing him the right moment for all the driver interactions – braking, turn-in, transition and acceleration! Co-Driver in your go-kart?! Why not! Want to push harder, brake later, guide your kart through the ideal line and accelerate as early as possible?! Yes, we all want that, so in order to achieve it just analyze your data, find the room for improvement and create your crucial driving points over the racing line and they will be displayed on the DISPLAY’s screen and LEDs. As simple as that! Forget about the old school, we are into the future, let’s take advantage of it!

14 - Co-DriverYou’ve found an option to improve braking for turn 1, or think that you should accelerate earlier out of turn 7? Just find the right spot and create your guiding points through your iPad Application, save them in your Academy Co-Driver setup for the Go-Kart BUNDLE and go! Your RaceCloud system will guide you through the track preparing you and showing you exactly what and where you should do in order to go faster and achieve better lap times. 3…2…1… BRAKE, 3…2…1… TURN, 3…2…1… ACCELERATE! Just like that!

And this is just the beginning – since RaceCloud’s Academy is automatically detecting the braking and turning points of your friend or team mate, you will be able to review them and create yours based on this, making it a piece of cake to learn a new track or just improve your driving!

Just take your seat with our test driver and take a look at all that in action: https://youtu.be/hN1n0uuO4tI?t=1m35s

It’s a video-game-like for kids as well! You know how cool such gadgets are in their eyes… Get them entertained and see what happens, having the opportunity to find if they are getting your advices into consideration – there will be no more excuses if they are not following them.

So, RaceCloud Academy is knocking on the door bringing innovation and state-of-the-art experience! Keep on following us for the future launch and details about how to get it for your new or existing RaceCloud subscription!

Theoretical best lap time

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imageWhen you’re pushing the limit it’s not always possible to complete a whole lap making every bend and straight at 100%. Once for example you’re perfect in turn number 3 but a missed braking point ruin the whole lap. Next time sector one and two are brilliant but traffic prevents you from keeping the pace. And you are always wondering what will be the result if you manage to complete a lap that has all your best in it!

The theoretical best lap is the feature that automatically calculates the sum of the best sector times in your session and gives you a clue of what is possible if you manage to get them inside one single lap. What’s more is that you can find exactly what you have done in you fastest sector in order to get the clock showing as short interval as possible.

imageA closer look into the lap times list in the session overview is showing you a detailed list of all the sector times as well and all you have to do is to find in which lap was your fastest sector one, two, three etc.

imageWhen you have that information all you have to do is to get back to the comparison mode and find what have been done in order to achieve those sector times and push harder to repeat those actions as consistently as possible. As we can see on the image shown, our driver managed to drive the fastest sectors 1 and 3 in his best lap, but has a 3 tenths faster sector 2 in his 5th lap and thus he needs to find what mistake have been made there.

If you want to go even further you can manually divide the track (creating a manual track configuration) making every single corner a separate sector and thus you’ll be able to get the ultimate best lap and examine the fastest way through every corner.

And if you dare to go further don’t forget to follow our blog.

RPM Analysis & Gears

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IMG_0016_crSpeed is everything in motorsports. Ask any man on earth and he’ll confirm that he can be as fast as hell, but is it so simple?! Despite the fact that it sounds very simple to most people, and as discussed in our previous topics, keeping the speed as high as possible isn’t a simple task and there are a lot of factors that have serious influence over it. Being fast means that you have to consider a huge number of factors, no matter if we talk about acceleration, max speed or turning speed. We have mentioned some things considering the speed into the twists, but what about the acceleration and speed between them and on the straights?

In terms of catalog data it is so simple – you have power, you have certain weight, and there we go. But the equation is a lot more complex. When you have the restrictions and the equalized forces in all the championships everything scales down to the finest details. This is why being able to make a proper RPM range analysis and adapt your gearing accordingly is crucial in getting the best speed on every specific track and conditions. Finding the best combo between max speed and acceleration is a complex of fine driver perception and careful assessment over the data. In other words, the proper tool helping you to find the best gear ratio will be a huge relief and time saver.

RaceCloud’s automated RPM analysis is that tool! Adding the most effective RPM range according your engine’s power curve into the Kart’s setup is allowing you to precisely determine how efficient is your final gear – how much time you match this range on track and if you need to search for shorter or longer gearing. Combine this data with the min/max RPM and SPEED values in the session overview and the task is becoming a piece of cake! If you think you’re spending too much time in the blue zone bellow the optimal range – pick a shorter gear ratio. And the opposite – you’re revving too high – change to longer final gear. As simple as that!

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Want more speed and driving “secrets”? Keep on following our Blog!

G-Forces & Steering Wheel Angle

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HeaderWell, welcome again in our pursuit of happiness… oops, sorry, pursuit for best lap times, which is motorsport’s joy factor and the way of measuring happiness. Remember that in the last two blog posts we’ve found the proper way around turns 5 to 8 for our driver on Lucas Guerrero track during the Rotax Grand Finals 2014. Unfortunately something went wrong in the second half of lap 7 in session 3  and we should now find out what have happened that caused the loss of those 2 tenths gained before that section.

image(8)How should you find such a weak spot within all the numbers and data?! Well, that’s easy with RaceCloud, since we have already thought about making it simpler, easier and faster for anyone to get “into” the in-depth analysis and to do so we made it visual! See the blue and orange lines over the racing line? You’ve already guessing what they are, right? It’s so much easier to understand what’s happening at every centimeter of the driving line with such a visualization of the lateral G-Forces and the Steering Wheel Angle. The pieces of the puzzle are finally getting on their places one by one and we start noticing a lot of details.

image(5)And this is how the “something wrong” went out on focus! Something is really wrong with Steering Wheel Angle and G-Force graph in turn 10, right? What we see is that a huge drop in the G-Forces is generated, combined with “opposite lock” with the steering,            done by the driver in order to compensate the grip loss and get everything back under control. This however, as everyone in motorsport is aware, is a time killer and despite the higher speed it immediately started “eating” what was gained in the last few turns.  Removing the other lap from the comparison clearly shows what have happened and that it was the first reason for losing time.

image(6)So the mystery is solved and RaceCloud once again showed us, that even being as close as possible in the matter of lap times, two laps can be a lot different to each other and we can learn a lot from them, being able to understand what the data is trying to tell us!

Follow us for more, since we’re impatient to help you easily understand what’s happening at every centimeter of the track!

Speed vs Brake / Turn-in points & Racing line

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This week we continue chasing the clock and it is now time to unveil the mystery that appeared in our previous post. Following the Time VS Time graph we discovered that our driver did some magic in the second sector gaining a lot of advantage in his second best lap.

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Let’s examine the Speed graph and find out if it’ll help us determine what happened. What the blue line is showing you is that the driver is keeping higher speed through turn 6, resulting in higher speed before turn 7. A later turn-in for turn 7 on the other side allows earlier acceleration and thus – higher speed in the next section despite the little lower apex speed.

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How do we know about the later turn-in? Well, RaceCloud is automatically detecting the braking and turn-in points and displaying them for easier and faster analysis. According the World Champion Mikko Laine, that’s the best feature that we have created so far and he also says that “It’s really useful for all the drivers including rookies and pros“.

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If you take a closer look at this section and the points over the racing line you’ll see that in the “blue” lap the driver initiated the braking and started turning at one and the same point, while on the other lap the points are different and the turn-in is earlier. A turn-in point in the middle of turn 5 in the red lap on the other side suggests a possible reason for the lower speed through turn 6, mentioned above. The later braking and more inside racing line caused the driver to work harder and struggle for grip and speed into the next turn and all this resulted in time and speed loss through the whole next section which is faster and thus more important for taking advantage.

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In the final section of the track, the “red” lap is “back in the game” carrying more speed into turns 15 and 16 and that helps it to finally make it with a negligible advantage of 0.03 sec. But what caused the loss of 2 tenths of a second in just a few turns? Keep following us so we can find the secret together, next time on RaceCloud Blog.

Cool Driving Chat In The New Episode of RaceCloud Tips & Tricks

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How to check your Turn-in point in RaceCloud Live Telemetry?

If you wanna be a winner  you must be prepared to work a lot on your racing line and braking points.

We know that and that’s why we want to demonstrate how you can do that kind of analysis with RaceCloud Live Telemetry.

 

 

That is just Part 1, more to follow on that topic.