Go faster in autocross | The apps, sensors and traces you need

J.G.
By J.G. Pasterjak
Aug 9, 2022 | Autocross, data, TrackAddict, ApexPro, Harry's Lap Timer, SoloStorm | Posted in Features | From the Oct. 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Perry Bennett

One of the keys to going fast is knowing how fast you’re going, and one of the best ways to know how fast you’re going is with some sort of data acquisition system. For road racers, data acquisition has become more or less standard. 

But where does this leave autocrossers? Has the democratization of data for the track crowd rubbed off …

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thashane
thashane GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/8/22 5:13 p.m.

I've had success with TackAddict (free). I also use it to import obd2 data into my videos through Racerender.

as long as I remember to turn it on. I mostly compare two runs in a playback, and see where I'm gaining or losing time, trying to remember what I did different. The white dot is a lap, and the blue dot is a lap where I was slower.

edit: the lap time isn't a true lap, since I don't setup the segments ahead of time, so it counts my return to staging as part if the lap. This is 22 Solo Nats Crows day 1.

bvanepps
bvanepps New Reader
8/8/22 6:36 p.m.

Im a 14 + year subscriber but can't access articles nor find detailed instructions how to.

 

David Elfering
David Elfering GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/21/22 9:07 p.m.

I used TrackAddict with an external OBD reader and Bluetooth GPS. I felt the combination was unreliable at autocross since I had to manage the connections. Two years ago I switched to Solostorm and RaceCapture. The built in data and gps integrates well for me and has been great for comparing data with co drivers. 

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/21/22 9:19 p.m.
bvanepps said:

Im a 14 + year subscriber but can't access articles nor find detailed instructions how to.

Not sure whether this helps, and I don't know whether there's an index or tree or something somewhere, but here's at least some kind of interface to article access:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/21/22 9:32 p.m.
David Elfering said:

I used TrackAddict with an external OBD reader and Bluetooth GPS. I felt the combination was unreliable at autocross since I had to manage the connections. Two years ago I switched to Solostorm and RaceCapture. The built in data and gps integrates well for me and has been great for comparing data with co drivers. 

I used SoloStorm quite a bit and liked it a lot, but I've noticed that I've been favoring ApexPro as they continue to ad features. Ultimately I think it's just my familiarity with the OSX devides that makes me lean Apex, but SoloStorm is a powerful and versatile suite of software for a great price.

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/22/22 10:14 a.m.

TrackAddict has worked best for me in Autocross and Rallycross of the phone apps but can still be flaky whether it actually starts and stops timing at the start finish line. Harry's and Racechrono have been worse in my opinion.

I just picked up a Racebox mini to try out which has very accurate GPS at 25 Hz along with built in G and pitch/yaw/slip sensors. Some apps can use the just the GPS data (Harry's and RaceChrono but not TrackAddict at this point) but it seems like to use all of the built in sensors the Racebox app is the only way to go and it is not setup well at the moment for this use. You can setup a course for timing autocross but it requires you to drive the course at > 10 km/h and press buttons at the same time on your phone to set Start/Split/Finish points. That is not practical to do at one of these events or an accurate way to define the course. I'll be using it this weekend at Mosport though and I think after that sending them some feedback on the app to hopefully get some improvements.

Edit - Just found where I can create custom courses without the device connected in the Raceox app using google maps so it should work, I'll see how it goes when I finally get to an autocross!

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
9/11/22 5:15 p.m.

So as a follow up to my post, I've now used the Racebox mini at Mosport and a local autocross and I'm very happy with it. When using it with their app all of the data is provided by the mini so the location of the phone does not matter which can be nice, I really wasn't interested at either event in the live timing so the app was opened, connected to the device and then thrown in the centre consol/glovebox.

On the track it worked as it should with accurate timing, g and yaw readings with the laps and sessions displayed in an easy way. You can easily compare one lap to another but it is based on time alone, in Circuit tools for example you can compare on position which is nice to see exactly what your speed delta is around a track. 

At the autocross I think I was most impressed as I've had a lot of issues with other phone based laptimers not starting, not finishing or doing nothing. With the app I setup a custom "open" circuit (rolling start with a different start and finish, "hillclimb" gives you a standing start that you hit go when you are staged and it starts timing on acceleration) as the start beams were out 30 ft into the course, up to 3 splits and the finish (set using my phones GPS position as I walked the course). The timer worked EVERY RUN which is a first for me, not only that but the timing was within a tenth of a second of the official timing so I was blown away by that. Again you could easily compare two runs to each other and see how you did around the course with a speed or G trace which is exactly what you need. The way the course is displayed in the app also shows a cornering G line as well which is interesting as you compare runs.

The app also uploads to their website automatically, the analysis on there is a little disappointing as it does not allow you to compare runs so I've only found it useful for downloading the data (.csv or .vbo) to use elsewhere but that is easy and painless.

So to sum it up I'm pretty happy with it for $179, it's a super accurate GPS and IMU running at 25 Hz, the app does what it is supposed to, it's worked every time I have remembered to open it and connect (which is easy). I just wish it could take in OBDII readings to the app as well for my newer car.

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