How Professional Racecar Drivers Use Data
Hey eveyone, welcome to Racers360. We're going to go through data this week and how professional drivers quickly identify where they're gaining and losing time and how you can too!
We're also going to be able to show you some different driving techniques and show them in data to show how we gain time in the wet.
We're actually breaking down Road Atlanta in the wet. We are using data from our pro coach, Dion von Moltke, and his teammate. Dion is the red lap and the black lap is one of his teammates from earlier in the weekend. Dion will be taking it from here, so let's go to Dion!
So typically the way we break down data is I ask to see my quickest lap of the session compared to the quickest lap of the weekend.
Well it just so happened to be that in this session I set the quickest lap of the weekend. So then I want to see then is what is the next closest quicket lap time and why did I gain time and where can I still find time? So let's start breaking it down.
So really quickly at the top here is time delta. When I am faster, that black line will go up higher. When I'm slower the black line will go down. Below that is wheel speed. Then we've got throttle position. When it's towards the top that means full throttle at the bottom here means no throttle.
Then we've got brake pressure, again, at the top is the highest pressure. At the bottom that means no pressure at all on the brakes. At the bottom we have steering wheel inputs. So that is the quick breakdown of what we're looking at here.
So the first thing I do as a driver is I look at where am I losing time? So here the majority areas I'm losing time, you can see are turn one.
So I can see entering turn one I'm losing time. But I can tell that I actually gain it all back and more on exit. So I don't look there immediately. I can see here on the exit turn five is the first spot that I lose time and don't gain it back. So let's take a look at what is going on here.
You can see there in the bottom right the track map. So we're going to zoom in and take a look. So turn five immediately I can see here we get off the throttle at the same point, but the black lap is braking earlier than me and harder.
The second thing I notice is we have pretty similar minimum speeds. A little bit less similar than I thought, actually. Black lap is getting slower by six kilometers an hour and then getting to initial throttle and full throttle before I am.
So I'm trying to brake deeper, and lighter to roll more speed through the middle of the corner which helps me until mid corner. But everything that I gained, I lose and more because I don't get as good of an exit. So, next time I know I need to focus on the exit at turn five. I don't need to focus on rolling speed through the middle of it, brake a little earlier, brake a little harder, and let's try to get to that initial throttle and full throttle earlier.
So that's how quick I can figure out what I need to do at certain points. I can also see I'm losing time at the exit of turn 10 B and through turn 12. So I'll zoom in on that section. And we can see immediately here one of the biggest no-nos as a driver is having to lift after I get back to full throttle. And immediately here I see that's what I did. I got back to full throttle and then I have to lift. And that's where I started really losing time to my teammate
The black lap got back to full throttle way after I did but didn't have that lift. And you can see immediately because of that I start losing time, and quite a lot of time. Just in this little section, really within two or three seconds on track, I've lost a half tenth just like that.
And that's an easy mistake that I need to avoid. So let me go a little earlier in the corner here. And I'll zoom in on this whole section. And I'll see what caused me to need lift and then I can start to analyze that. What I'm looking at is I think I've turned earlier to turn 10 A and I've turned earlier in turn 10 B. And when you turn earlier, the first thing I think about, I probably got understeer because I've got less of an arc, less of a radius, and less of the ability to really get the car planted.
So I think I have to get the full throttle and lift because I'm running out of track and I'm fighting the car. But I don't see much fighting or many corrections here. So I'm thinking to myself, maybe I need to turn slightly later into turn 10 B and then have the car straighter as I crest the hill out of 10 B and avoid that lift.
I also see, turn 12 is where I'm losing the most amount of time. I lose just over a tenth in turn 12. And the first thing I see is I've got a full lift and an earlier brake zone. The black lap doesn't actually have a full lift. Although he does brake, so he's just having a little bit of brakes while still on just a little bit of throttle. So he's keeping the weight on the rear end, keeping the diff locked, which as we've talked about in other high speed corner videos, that's a very good thing to do.
So I think to myself as a driver, I want to brake the same amount, but I want to delay that brake and I don't want to have a full lift. I just want to start to lift and maybe keep that 10% throttle all the way through. So now I know as a driver what I need to know to try to go a little bit faster. There's more grip available in turn 12.
I can see I got back to full throttle earlier. But because I had a much bigger lift, I've got seven kilometers now or less than my teammate in the middle of the corner. So getting back to full throttle earlier doesn't make up for what I lost on entry. I just was too slow through the middle of the corner. So I need to focus more on entry and apex speed in turn 12.
So those are the major things I see what are costing me time. Where am I gaining the time? We can see immediately the most amount of time I gained was on the brake zone at the end of the back straightaway. And then also out of turn one and turn seven.
So turn one, let's break that down really quick and see what's going on here. So we can see the black lap gained time on entry simply by rolling just a little bit more speed. And you can see he's off throttle just later than me. Just that little bit of extra full throttle is helping my teamamte gain time on entry.
But where I start to gain the time back is trailing off the brakes. So at Racers360 we always say the end of the brake zone is really the most critical point on how you gain time. So we can see here, look at the slope of the line, you can see how much more pressure the black lap has here versus my red lap.
Now this is really beautiful trail braking right here. You can see we actually get off the brakes almost at the same point. But look how much less pressure I've got just before then. I then roll more speed and then I actually get to throttle later that the black lap. The black lap gets to throttle here, while I only get back to throttle here.
But we can see how much earlier I am back to full throttle. So what I think happened here as a driver is the black lap got back to throttle initially, took weight off the front end, and then it had understeer that didn't allow him to get back to full throttle.
So I know as a driver, I need to keep that full throttle just a little bit longer on entry. But what I'm doing very well is the execution of trailing off the brakes, longer brake zone, and committing to throttle.
So let's look now at turn seven on the back straightaway. What am I dong better here that's allowing me to gain time? So you can see again, the black lap's holding throttle a little bit longer than me. He's hitting the brakes harder, keeping the brakes hard at the end of the brake zone, and again, getting to initial throttle before I am.
So we arrive into the corner almost even. 19 hundredths of a second difference between us at entry and we leave with me gaining two and a half tenths. So where is the time gain? There's half of it by rolling speed to the apex. The second half of it is being more patient to throttle and then being able to commit to full throttle earlier, which is critical when we're lead onto a long straightaway like here at Road Atlanta.
So I need to remind myself again, keep doing a good job, but rolling that speed, trailing off the brakes, being patient to throttle, and once I commit to throttle, really being able to commit to throttle, open the hands and get a good exit.
The final area where I'm gaining time is the end of the back straightaway here. So let's take a look at that. So first thing I see as a driver is something that is a big no-no. The black lap here, see this throttle? How lazy of a release that is? Now we typically often see that on the wet where we're trying to figure out where the grip is.
But we still always want a nice and crisp release of the throttle before braking because that allows the weight transfer to work more efficiently. When we're kind of just trailing off the throttle a little bit, the weight kind of enters no man's land and we actually have less grip in the car because that weight isn't shifting properly. So that's immediately a big no-no that we talk about.
The second thing, we're both doing this, we can see the slope of this brake zone, the initial hit of it isn't very good. We normally want to see a crisp initial hit of the brakes trailing off. Where here it's a rounded brake application and that's really a function of us trying to find the limit of the car in the wet and slowly working up to it.
So that's something we often see in the wet. You want to slow down the transfer of weight and not shock it because you don't really know where the limit is. You want to slowly work up to it and make sure you don't cross over it by too much. Where if you slowly work up to it and you slowly cross over it, the chances of you being able to get back are higher.
So we can see here I also then get back to initial throttle earlier and get back to full throttle earlier. And you can see at this point I'm rolling, wow, nearly twenty kilometers more through the middle of the apex in turn 10 A. So really the function of me gaining time here was just having more confidence, braking slightly deeper, finding a little bit more grippy of a line, and that allowed me to roll speed.
So that's been our Racers360 breakdown on how professional drivers use data to find speed on track. If you guys have any questions or any comments, please post them below. We always look at those and love to hear your engagement and your thoughts on this type of stuff. Hopefully you found this really helpful. I know a lot of you sim racers are starting to use data to find time and it can look really confusion when you see a lot of squiggly lines. And our goal here is to really help you figure out what do these lines mean? How we use them, and how we quickly dive through all of this data.