Jerry Austin uses AIM and Motec data acquisition hardware to assist drivers. He has given us permission to reprint this example of data analysis.
Data Analysis Example by Jerry Austin of Austin Motorsports
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Eric 2.18 vs John G 2.13 at Sebring
I’ll try to describe what I look for when looking at data. The graphs will be “colors” for John and black for Eric. Here is the overlay of the full lap:
The top row is a graph showing where you are losing time compared to John. If the graph is inclined L to R, you are losing, if it is declining, you did better than John. Now, don’t get bummed, you are going to learn a lot from John! You can see the “variance” by clicking the icon circled in red, but only when 2 or more laps are selected. To find the variance at a certain point on the track, click at that spot on the graph and the variance from the S/F line is displayed. In this case 1.775 sec.
I like to look at the whole lap and then look at corners. As you can see from the first chart there are a number of places that John (red) is faster. There are other places that you are nearly as good as he is. If we were at the track, I’d highlight two or three areas to work on. You should never be going out with more than three things to try to improve! But, before we do that, let me make a general comment about your throttle. The goal is to be on full throttle until you go to the brakes (in most cases, not Bishops bend etc). Let’s look at your throttle trace:
This is where data becomes helpful. You will convince yourself that you don’t lift/coast into a corner, but most people do. Again the goal is to stay full throttle on a straight until you go to the brakes, and then go to full brakes in 0.2 to 0.4 sec. Look at John’s throttle, straight down as compared to you, rolling off. In the first brake zone, you went 150 ft between starting off the throttle and full off, John was 34 ft. This is not significant but it is a habit that you need to be aware of and change if you want to get the most from yourself.
So from the first graph, looking at the speed and the variance charts, I’d pick the turn 1 thru 3 complex, turns 10 thru 13 and turn 17 (see graph below) You are 1.7 seconds behind John by the apex of turn 3. Obviously John has carried more speed down the front straight which affects that but we’ll not worry about that now. Look at the corner speed at the apex of turn 1, you are nearly as good as John (hurray) then look at the throttle entering and exiting turn 1, then look at throttle as you enter the brake zone of turn 3 as compared to John. You can see that this is where you need to work on improving; both with coming off better as well as getting to full throttle sooner. Not easy, but where you need to be:
The next section I’d have you work on is turns 10-13. Look at the shape of your throttle trace as you lift off gas, then look at your throttle thru the double apex left hander vs John. I won’t tell you to do that yet, I’m just trying to show that your car has much more grip than you think, but you still need to work up toward being faster.
Now, the famous turn 17. John is really about the best at doing 17. We can look at some of his videos (actually, I try to burn a session on DVD and send it to you) Here is the data graph: Your minimum speed is exactly the same as John. You lost 1.1 sec thru here and it was all due to throttle, off too early on too late (easy for me to say). Here again John may have a much better line so looking at his video should help here too.