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Traqmate data aquisition unit

Old 07-02-07, 04:25 PM
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Traqmate data aquisition unit

In light of the previous post I thought I'd copy a post I made to another board a while back regarding my Traqmate unit. It's a great learning tool, but you should also consider what units your faster friends use as comparing data is where these things are most valuable.

I'm posting this for those interested in purchasing a similar system. Not for unsolicited driving advice (unless you have extensive experience on this track in an FD) - thanks for understanding.

I didn't look all that hard at other systems as the company is based here in ATL and most of the guys at RA use it making driver comparisons much easier. They also offer integrated video with Chase Cam which I will purchase once I can afford it.

Weather was BAD. I only got one session on a dry track but it was still damp and cold, tire temps never getting above 100F.

A bit of orientation Road Atlanta is a 2.5 mile track. The map doesn't look all that challenging but what is not appreciated is the elevation changes making it a lot of fun. The data compares my best lap with the best lap of a good Spec Miata driver (in a Spec Miata). Not the best car to compare mine with due to power differences but you can still learn a lot.

The first image is a brake-turn map. The colors indicate what is going on where, map on the right is mine. Turn 12 is the upper left, start/finish is the black arrow without a number (others are for segment analysis), turn one is upper right, turn 6 and 7 are at the bottom, turns 10a and 10b are the chicane along the left side. These are still captures but everything can all be played in real time which is more informative.

Most of it is self explanatory: I cannot stay on the throttle all the way through turn 12 (and you can see Charles lifted) but I am actually going faster as will be seen below. He generally brakes later but he isn't going as fast either. It looks like he is coasting before the chicane but I suspect the car is maxed out and no longer accelerating. the black dots along the back straight are shift points. Overall he does a better job of staying in the throttle.

the next image is a velocity versus distance map. So far I'm finding this most useful. My car is green, his is red. The ramps up are acceleration, down are braking, and the valleys are the curves.

It's painfully obvious here that I am slowing down way too much for the corners. My car is clearly faster but I'm way too slow in turn one (the first dip). I make up for it by being faster after but a lot of time is lost. You can see he brakes later and further into the corners as well. Turn 10a is the last big dip (after the straight) and 12 is at the right end and not a dip since you accelerate through it. I probably could have done better with warm tires but I still need to grow a pair in the corners.

The last one is a friction circle. I can't get the scales the same but the data is still good. An ideal plot would be triangular, pointing up with a hole in the center indicating seamless transition from braking to turning. His looks good, mine, not so much, but better than I thought it would.

It can analyze/compare the data numerous other ways, I just thought these were the most informative. I'm going to work on getting some car data into it as well (RPM, boost, etc). So far I'm happy with it. I'll have the Porsche on the track in June and look forward to comparing the two cars.

In case you were wondering, my best time was 1:41:75. Clearly there's more to be had. I cracked a front brake rotor on that lap so I didn't push as hard afterward. (the best drivers have the best excuses).

And here's my FD/Cayman S data

The Good
Out of the box, the CS is a pretty competent track car. The only mods I have are a cat-back exhaust and lowering springs, neither of which should have a significant effect on performance. The car is very neutral, largely thanks to the mid-engine configuration and resultant low polar moment of inertia. It never feels twitchy and slides predictably into mild understeer. You can drive it beyond your limits pretty comfortably - it's that forgiving.

Oversteer can be induced by trail-braking but the rear is pretty insensitive to throttle manipulations in this respect. Feedback is good for a stock car, the torque curve is nice, and I had little problem keeping up with cars that should have been faster. It's a nicer ride to and from the track as well.

The Bad
Although it's pretty firmly suspended, it rolls more than I expected (or am used to). In some ways the compliance is nice as it makes it more forgiving but I'd rather have the additional feedback.

I ran the stock pads which started to fade after 3 laps of 100% braking so I had to back off and brake earlier for most all laps. I bleed them with Motul 600 prior to the event but I think it was the pads that were the weak point.

Street tires - although the Michelin Pilot Sport II's are great (and ******* expensive) they really can't compare to track tires in terms of grip and feedback. They slid predictably but making them slide more didn't have an effect on lap times.

All 3 of these points could be easily remedied. Surprisingly I rarely felt power was a major weakness.

The FD is just a more sharper edged track car. I could feel the difference in the first corner of the warm-up lap. I had been taking the feedback for granted. With the manual rack I can literally tell what each tire is doing. Braking is better, and grip is better of course (Hoosiers). There is no roll and the weight difference can definitely be felt. It's certainly more demanding and less forgiving to drive at the limit but the limits are so much higher it's worth it.

Interestingly the difference in fun was not as great as the difference in lap times. On the same day, I'd guess the FD is around 10 seconds faster per lap. The fastest CS lap was 1:48 with good track conditions. The fastest FD lap is 1:41 on a cold damp day. Below is a track map with S/F at the arrow. Turn one is the first RH turn, 5 is the big LH, 6 and 7 make up the 180 before the back straight, 10a and 10b are the chicane, and 12 leads into the front straight.

Here is a best lap comparison for the FD and the CS - a plot of velocity versus distance (or point on the track). The graph starts at the S/F line with the valleys being turns. You can see that the FD is just faster everywhere, turns and straights, and that I can brake later with it, even in the bad weather. It didn't feel that much faster though.

I want to point out that my times are not necessarily all that great, I'm sure more experienced drivers could shave seconds off.

The Ugly
During the first session I was coming around turn 9 getting ready for the hard braking into the chicane (10a) when suddenly all I could see was red clay dust 60 ft high and silver car parts flying everywhere. The debris flag was out at the previous station so I wasn't at top speed but was around 120 when I encountered this. I got off-line to the left and managed to come to a stop while watching a Carrera heavy into the ABS almost rear-end me. When the dust settled enough to see, a Boxster was in the gravel trap, an M coupe was along the right wall and a 996 Cab was off to the right of the curve. It seems a 996 GT3 had blown an oil line (and they hold about 15 quarts) leaving a trail of oil on-line from turn 9 though turn 12 until he pulled off. This shut the event down for about 3 hours. The M coupe's owner was fine, the 996 owner was take to the hospital with knee pain, and the GT3 owner quickly drove home. Here is the carnage:

I almost parked the car after this one.

As always, let me know if you ever want to come up for an event. I'll try to keep you out of the walls.

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Old 06-28-08, 11:32 PM
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I like how the curtious corner marshal saved that ever-important coil spring and put it with the car. That peice is key to getting it back on track....let the rebuild begin!!

In all seriousness, sorry to see that. Hope you are ok and are back on track soon.
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Old 06-29-08, 10:32 AM
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Wow, glad everyone was ok from that accident.

RE: The traqmate - thanks for the post. It is really interesting to see the comparisons of data between you and another driver, as well as between your two cars. I've been thinking about getting one, but I don't know anyone else that has one so i wouldn't be able to compare my data to anyone to look for places to improve.
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Old 06-29-08, 09:55 PM
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FYI, you can go to the traqmate website and download the software and other people's lap data files and check it out.
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