Collecting data in hire karting isn’t as difficult as you think it might be.
Data provided by the circuit
Most circuits provide some kind of data after a session. Sometimes this is as basic as a printed list of lap times, on other occasions you get much more. Most of the racing I do is at Bayford Meadows where the data from Hire Kart races is available after the session via the alphatiming site. The data here is quite useful and you can effectively replay a race and look at what happened and also what was going on elsewhere.
Data I collect myself
Modern phones are great pieces of equipment and come equiped with a load of sensors. I decided to look at lap timer apps and settled on usings Harrys Lap Timer. There are different versions of the app available – once I’d proven that it worked I upgraded to the Petrolhead edition which allowed me to record video and, more importantly do lap overlays so I could compare good and bad laps.
As well as GPS positioning the app records speed, acceleration (both lateral and linear) and elevation (which is less useful to me). It also allows you to walk through a lap and view all of these measurements at once. It has a set of charts and some other powerful stuff that I haven’t really looked at yet.
The GPS rate wasn’t very accurate or precise out of the box – the update rate of the iPhone is set at once per second. I bought a second hand Dual XGPS150A GPS received which does 10 updates a second which is much better. The two devices are connected over bluetooth. During a session, I wear both the Dual and the iPhone strapped to my ankles underneath my overalls.
I bought a GoPro 7 Silver and use it to film every event I can. Currently, this limits me to events that have mounting points on their Karts. I don’t yet have a shoulder mount for it and I refuse to attach it to my helmet. Some circuits won’t allow you on track with a GoPro attached to your helmet and I’m sure that doing pretty much anything to my helmet will affect its ability to protect me should something happen. It also records g-force, speed and position but I’m not able to extract these into the lap timer. The video is high quality, although I need to stabilise it depending on the Kart, and is easily modified in iMovie and can then be joined to data from the lap timer.
Although not related directly to my driving my Fitbit does collect some data – the most interesting one being my heart rate during a race. There’s also a bunch of other stats which can help me with my health and fitness while I’m not racing.