So I’ve been to school, learned to ride better (Ok a lot better, but I have a long way to go before I consider myself good) and now I’m setting up to do track days whenever possible.
The first thing I want to secure is a way to get accurate laps times. In my opinion if I’m not going to time my laps I might as well just ride through the back roads.
Ideally I want a transponder like the XT Racing Ultalap it uses an infrared transmitter you sit on the side of the track to time your laps. You then plug in to your computer and download the data for analysis. Pretty cool, easy to use, and not too spendy ($300 for the receive, transmitter and software).
However, a friend pointed out that if you have a small video camera you can get pretty good laptimes that way. I happen to have a bullet camera and a PVR that I can record on so…. You mount the camera on the bike, start recording before you leave the pits. Find the start finish line and then fast forward until you get to the same point and see how much video time elapsed and that is your lap time. It is manual, but if you already have the camera you have a free laptimer. Another benefit is that you can study the lines you are taking through the track to see if you are consistently hitting your turn points, making mid turn corrections, etc. combining the camera and the lap timer would make life easier.
Then there is the TRAQMATE. This thing freaking rocks. I wanted one when I was autocrossing. It gives you almost all of the instrumentation professional racers use. Actually, I bet most privateers don’t have this much instrumentation. The unit uses GPS to locate you on track. It has sensors for RPM and other stuff (ok, not sure whatelse). But based on the data it has it can tell where you are braking, accelerating, how many lateral Gs you are pulling. To put the icing on the cake it has video in so you also hook up a bullet camera and it will overlay data on top of the video. That way you can see everything that is going on while watching yourself drive on the track (off as the case maybe).
The trick is that TRAQMATE is expensive. I would love to have one but unless I’m going to go pro (don’t I wish) I can’t really justify dropping that much money. Too bad.
Something I’ve considered is using my little GPS unit as a lap timer. It as a breadcrumb mode that will record my locations as I move around. I need to look at Garmin’s web-site and see how that data is stored. If it includes time and it records often enough then I could possibly write a program that can get some of the TRAQMATE features. But frankly – just getting the Ultalap and using my existing bullet camera will be the cheapest way to go.
Just saved the word doc and remember what I set out to write about…. It’s all related. This spring I’m planning on getting a new ZX6. Yeah, I just got a ’99 ZX6. It is really nice and I’m having fun with it. But I want the new technology. Oh, yeah, I said I’d never buy new again. I seem to lie a lot. Seriously, if you spent some time on the back of a new ZX6 or any of the other modern super sports you would be jonesing for one too. I used to want the ZX10, still do sort of, but seriously the ZX6 will deliver a serious ass kicking if you know what to do with it. But we’ll have to see what happens in April. Included in the purchase of a new bike will be CSS Level’s 3 and 4 so I can get even better. I’ll take the bike with me. If I’m really successful between now and then I might even try to get a traqmate. How cool would that be? Be able to collect all that data to get even better coaching.
If I’m going to pull this off I need to shut up and get back to programming.