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Data Analysis Fundamentals: Reference Lap

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Reference Lap


00:00 - Now that you've got a solid understanding of the data analysis system and the sensors we're typically going to rely on, let's take a look at some of the tools that are available to us that can help us analyse our driving and improve our lap times.
00:14 One of the most powerful advantages of datalogging is the ability to set what's usually referred to as a reference lap.
00:22 This is a full lap of data that is intended to show what the true capabilities of the car are when its driven to the limit.
00:29 From here you're able to compare your driving to the reference lap and see what you're doing differently.
00:34 The key with reference lap is to get a great lap to use as a benchmark.
00:38 The easiest way to set a solid reference lap initially is to put a professional driver driving coach, or at the very least someone with significantly more skill and experience than yourself, in the car and allow them to do enough laps to set a representative lap time.
00:55 In most instances if you're a novice driver, this time is likely to be significantly better than your own.
01:01 While it can come as a bit of a shock when someone jumps into your car for the first time and within a handful of laps, manages to cut a full second or more off your own PB, this isn't something to get discouraged about.
01:13 If means you're now going to know exactly what your car is capable of and more importantly where you can gain that lap time.
01:20 The other way of getting a reference lap is from another competitor who's driving the same car as you.
01:25 This is usually only relevant in a controlled or spec series where the cars are fundamentally identical.
01:32 Most competitors are pretty secretive about their data though and your chances of finding someone prepared to share, particularly if that driver is near the pointy end of the class, are usually limited but it's not impossible.
01:44 The most important thing to understand if you're using someone else's data, is that even in a spec series, there are often subtle differences between the way the cars are set up.
01:54 This can mean that the data you're trying to reference shows advantages that aren't solely based on the driver and it may not be possible to match the reference lap times without making some setup changes.
02:05 It can still be worthwhile to analyse a competitors data, particularly if there are large differences but you need to understand these implications.
02:14 As you gain experience and start achieving consistent lap times, you'll be able to start using your own reference laps.
02:21 This would usually just be your current personal best lap time of that circuit.
02:25 Once you have the reference lap time set, you can then try changing your lines, braking points or driving style and immediately see how this influences your lap times using the gain/loss function which is what we'll cover next.
02:37 Many logging systems will offer the option to automatically update your reference lap as you improve your lap times which can be useful.
02:45 Particularly if you're visiting a new track, as you'll naturally find your lap times drop quickly over your first few sessions as you gain experience with the track, start finding the limits and begin to push the car harder.

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