Any Data System - The New Track Attack Makes them Comparable!
Over the past couple of years, as we spent time with drivers at tracks all over - we noticed something; not all drivers used data acquisitions systems from the same manufacturer. Some used AiM, some used MoTec, RaceCapture, Racelogic, Bosch and a few different mobile phone apps, such as the original Track Attack.
At first glance, it's great to see the variety of tools used by people - each of them optimized for a slightly different experience. The variety in choice is also great in that each maker is constantly updating their hardware, with some really cool hardware having been released recently.
Comparing data: fast-track to getting faster
We, at Track Attack, are clearly fans of data and video, for many reasons. One of the biggest benefits of having data and video, is being able to compare yourself to someone else who is faster than you, in a similar car and similar conditions. Even someone that is just as fast as you can be beneficial also, because you might be achieving the same lap times in very different ways.
Being able to overlay on top of each other, laps from two sessions allows drivers to see exactly why someone is going faster than them. Are the braking later and harder? Are they on getting on maintenance throttle sooner and back to full throttle sooner? Are they shifting more cleanly? Are they making the tires work harder around a corner (lateral acceleration)? All of these things can be uncovered by comparing the most basic data channels (GPS speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration). Then coupling this with video, it starts to tell the story of how that driver is making it happen, at least from a driver input standpoint.
There are still things that can't be seen, such as the setup, tire life, weather conditions, etc. But being able to compare data is so powerful, that it's one of the biggest selling points behind a new iRacing connected service, Virtual Racing School. They have coaches who go out and set very quick lap times in a variety of cars and tracks and you can get access to them as a subscriber.
The problem: This is hard and nearly impossible when comparing data across two different data systems
Getting a hold of someone else's data is hard to begin with. As in the literal act. Once you have someone who is willing to share their data, figuring it out which file(s) to share and how to 'import' them, is a chore. Then making the data graphs actually comparable is a whole other story. This is so complicated, that there are even video series on just making two sessions from the same data system maker, comparable.
Now, throw in having two or more people, with different data systems, such as AiM and RaceLogic and we're in the "nearly impossible" realm... until now.
Any major data system, automatically comparable with the new Track Attack
Enter the new Track Attack service and specifically two of our most critical services:
- Data Processing Engine: We've built an engine that takes in data from all of the major data system makers and transforms them in into our standardized format, that enables the data to now be comparable. For some of us, remember 15+ years ago when PDF documents could only be opened with Adobe's proprietary software and now a PDF can be opened in a variety of programs? It's like that - we've made it so that we could open all these major data system types, in one place.
- Centralized database: This is the largest centralized database of race tracks in the world with just about every known car optimized race track covered, a large portion of oval tracks in the US and a growing list of karting tracks. Having one source of truth for each track, for everyone, is the second critical piece for making these data types comparable. By having the same "Portland International Raceways w/Chicane" for everyone, makes that data automatically comparable with no "GPS Lap Insert" type action needed.
A first - AiM, RaceCapture and RaceLogic data on the same graph.
This picture may not look like much, but this is a culmination of a lot work. It is sessions from three different drivers:
- Green line: Jeff is driving his PRO3 car and collecting data using Autosportlab's RaceCapture data system
- Red line: Olivier driving his PRO3 car (and MURDERING us) and collecting data using RaceLogic's Video VBOX
- Blue line: Me driving my PRO3 car and collecting data using AiM's MXL2 data system
How did we get to this?
Not a single file was emailed or 'GPS Lap Inserted'! This is starting to get into one of the other core features of the new Track Attack but here is what occurred to make this data view happen:
- Each driver created their own account on Track Attack.
- Each driver imported their files into the TA service with the software
- We created a team called "PRO3TrackAttackTeam" and invited each person to the team
- Each person shared the session with that team
- We all got automatic access to the session, the next time we synchronized
That's it! Literally nothing else to do and you all will be able to do this too. Right now we are supporting AiM, RaceLogic, Bosch and RaceCapture files. We will be supporting MoTec and a couple smartphone app data types, soon. Specifically for Track Attack smartphone app data, all users and their data will be migrated to the new service in the first half of 2018 and all newly recorded sessions will be saved on the new platform, making your data available in the new analytics experience.