Now that the rainy season has set in I'm poring over the interesting stuff my race car's onboard data-acquisiton system has collected. It's supposed to help me go faster next year. We'll see.
The dacq system is pretty cool. I don't know what's inside it yet, but it's made by AIM Motorsports and clearly has at least one microprocessor and 8MB of nonvolatile RAM, probably flash. Naturally, there are a lot of analog and digital inputs that it samples 100 times/second. At first, that didn't seem very fast to me, but 10 ms resolution is more than adequate for sampling the throttle position and exhaust temperature, for example.
I can dump the acquired data onto my laptop over a USB cable that attaches to my steering wheel. Now the fun begins -- what do I do with the data?
A neat little program called Race Studio 2 (also from AIM) charts all the data, like a big Excel spreadsheet with graphs. It's a huge help, but also a far cry from a real solution. As the saying goes: there's data, there's information, there's knowledge, and there's wisdom. The dacq system provides the first one; the others are my responsbility.
I'm looking at lateral g's, brake pedal pressure, and throttle position plotted against a map of the Laguna Seca track near Monterey. If I stare long enough I'm supposed to see where I'm losing time. A millisecond less braking here, a millisecond more throttle here, and I might gain a tenth of a second in lap time. Trouble is, I'm sitting at home instead of in my car, and it'll be months before I can put this to use.
Maybe I'll just cross my fingers and hope I get quicker next season.