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Data Analysis Fundamentals: Lap Time

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Lap Time


00:00 - Since we're only going to be focusing on driver analysis and development in this course, the good news here is that when we remove the engine and chassis performance from the equation, this greatly reduces the cost and complexity of your datalogging requirements.
00:15 And we'll show you through this course how you can see big gains for under $500 with only a handful of log parameters.
00:24 In fact, in our experience, when it comes to analysing log data, less is definitely more for the novice driver.
00:33 While it's nice to have dozens of sensors, telling you all about your brake pressure, brake bias or steered angle, these are certainly not essential.
00:41 Particularly not when you're just starting out.
00:44 In the following modules, we're going to focus on the key channels you'll want to look at to get the best bang for your logging dollars.
00:52 Later on, we'll add in some more advanced channels you may want to consider as your budget and ability to interpret the data improves.
01:01 We'll start with lap time.
01:03 Which is obviously one of the first pieces of data we absolutely need.
01:06 While we can obviously get a lap time the old fashioned way from a stopwatch, it's the integration of lap time with the rest of our data that's so important for the rest of our analysis.
01:18 There are two ways we can record lap times.
01:21 The first and most accurate is with a physical lap timing beacon that's placed on the side of the track which triggers a receiver in the car.
01:29 This sort of system offers great accuracy however it adds cost and complexity to your logging package.
01:36 The other real concern with lap timing beacons is that they have batteries that can go flat.
01:41 It's also easy to forget to put them out at the start of the day or worse still, forget to pick them up at the end.
01:48 You'll also need to ability to move the receiver in the car from side to side depending on the track layout and where you can locate the timing beacon.
01:56 In recent years, the lap timing choice for enthusiasts and semi professional drivers has undoubtedly become a GPS based system.
02:05 This system uses satellites to provide accurate location of the car on the racetrack at any time.
02:12 It's self contained and doesn't require a timing beacon to function.
02:16 It does however require a GPS antennae to be fitted to your vehicle and you'll also need to tell the datalogger the coordinates of the start/finish line for the track you're at.
02:26 However most dataloggers make this as simple as choosing your track from a drop down menu or even automatically deciding on the current racetrack location based on the GPS location that comes from the car.
02:38 GPS has some other advantages over a timing beacon in that it will also provide constantly updated position of the car on track which makes generating a track map and even in some instances, analysing driving lines fast and easy.
02:54 The downside however is the accuracy and speed of GPS.
02:58 While many manufacturers now offer 50 Hz GPS units which can update the car's location 50 times per second or in other words, every 0.02 seconds, these are still quite expensive and most common entry level systems use a 10 Hz GPS which update position every 10th of a second.
03:17 This in conjunction with other aspects of the GPS system limit the ultimate accuracy as the car's location can change quite a lot in a 10th of a second.
03:27 While it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, as well as your location on earth and therefore the number of satellites the antennae can use to determine your position, a low cost 10 Hz GPS antennae is likely to be accurate to within a few metres and you may find a small discrepancy between the GPS generated lap times and those measured with a physical beacon.
03:50 In our own experience though this discrepancy is likely to be in the range of 0.01 to 0.03 seconds and is generally more than sufficient for our purposes and a reasonable tradeoff for the cost and convenience a GPS offers.
04:05 In terms of track mapping, some analysis packages utilise an algorithm that incorporates GPS data along with lateral and longitudinal G forces which we'll be discussing shortly, in order to vastly improve the accuracy of track mapping over what is achievable with a GPS alone.
04:23 It's also worth mentioning that to provide solid data, the GPS antennae needs to have an unobstructed view of the sky.
04:30 To achieve this we need to consider where the antennae is located on the car as well as the design of the track.