If you're serious about driving and like heading to the track, this is a must-have tool.
Automakers regularly update their sports cars, making them quicker around the track with each new iteration. Take the 2021 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 that now offers a PDK transmission option, cutting the 0-60 mph time by half a second and drastically improving lap times. It is tempting to go out and buy a quicker car, but we've always been proponents of self-improvement rather than switching to another vehicle.
Instead of spending thousands on a newer, faster car, why not make yourself faster so you can be quicker no matter what car you drive? For drivers who want to hone their skills, we highly recommend a fantastic gadget from a company called Race Navigator. Anyone who frequently laps the Nurburgring, visitors and race teams included, knows this is by far the most intuitive telemetry system available right now. We've sampled it in our own car, and we're convinced that it's a must-have device. If you're truly serious about driving, you need one of these in your car. Here's why.
The Race Navigator (RN) is an onboard telemetry device that uses cameras and car data to record laps during track events. By combining video of your laps with overlays of the car's telemetry, including speed, G readouts, braking, throttle and more, you can analyze your mistakes and subsequently improve your driving skills. Driving on the Nurburgring in the Cayman GT4 with one installed, we went from an 8.30-minute lap to 7 mins 55 secs over the course of a day.
By rewatching the footage of our lap alongside the lap of a professional, we could see where we had to improve with every single lap. We could easily see where we came off the brakes too late, and which corners we could have entered or exited with more speed.
In the video below, you can see the RN Pro with two cameras in action with pro driver Moran Gott piloting a Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 at the Nurburgring.
The RN uses built-in cameras to capture high-definition footage of your laps with storage to save the videos for later viewing. Setting up the system for a track day is incredibly simple using the touchscreen, even when wearing driving gloves. Most systems like this require hours to set up on a computer, but the RN makes it simple to view your laps right on the system when you need to see one of your laps quickly. You can also organize your laps as events with unique labels, and set the device up for different vehicles and drivers.
There is almost no learning curve when using the RN system. The main menu contains only a few options to select, including a dashboard with your current lap counter, speed, rpm, lap time, an analysis tab for your post-lap, and a lap history page that will show your best ones in yellow.
Alternatively, users can control the device using their iPhone or iPad via the Race Navigator Connect app. This provides a convenient and comfortable way to manage drivers, vehicles, tracks, and system settings. The app also allows users to download videos from all Race Navigators and share them on social media.
Once the data has been collected, it can also be simply transmitted using the Race Navigator App via Wi-Fi to an iPad or via windows-based software to a PC. When it's time to view your videos in greater detail, you can watch the footage almost immediately following your lap using the RN Analyzer App on the Apple iPad. The convenience of an iPad makes it easy to view the footage in the paddock before you leave the track. If you'd like to delve deeper into your lap times, the software for Windows computers offers even more analysis.
Users can compare and analyze laps, get an aerial view of the race track with driving lines displayed, play videos, and compare sector timing of selected laps. You can even watch several laps at once, so you can see which ones you drove best. The Time Slip Chart conveniently tells you how many seconds you may have lost in a corner. Using these tools, it's easy to see where you've made mistakes and how you can improve on those areas in the next lap. Automakers often publish blistering Nurburgring times for new sports cars, but without a tool like this, how can you ever hope to get near those lap times?
Depending on your budget and how you plan to use it, there are different versions with varying price tags. The entry-level RN LITE costs €1,656.17 ($1,946.75) and includes an HD camera for the cockpit or track, 64 GB of storage, cable extensions, and a roll cage mount. For €2,816.17 ($3,310.27), the RN ONE is the most popular version and adds a second camera with the ability to add a third, as well as a windshield suction mount and racing mount.
The RN PRO Racing Bundle is the most expensive option for €4,335.38 ($5,095.31) and is most suitable for a racing team. This bundle includes flexible camera placement, a separate WiFi Display, up to 256 GB of internal storage, the ability to use up to four cameras (including full HD), and custom fitment options.
The Race Navigator's mission is to help make you a better driver, which is why the device can grow along with your skill level. RN offers multiple add-ons including OBD data, CAN data, and a live Telemetry transfer modem. With these add-ons installed, you can view additional data from your car such as the throttle position, engine rpm, water temperature, and more. These data points can more accurately show you how you were driving at any point in a lap, and give you more information to learn from.
Using the available RN LIVE system, you can even stream your race to viewers with readouts of your telemetry. RN LIVE is mostly used by race teams to stream live events, but it could theoretically come in handy for a car enthusiast who wants to share their track day with friends or a YouTuber whose audience might enjoy watching a live race. Best of all, even after you've accumulated all of these add-ons, the RN carrying case allows you to neatly pack up all of the equipment to bring to your next track day.
With several event features, the Race Navigator is useful for more than just track days. With Street Mode (an optional piece of software), you can use the RN to measure your car's performance, such as acceleration, braking, and distance tests. For each test, like 0-60 mph or 60-0 mph, a separate video is captured and saved to the device.
Other event features include Endurance Taxi Mode (also an option), which allows users to record to an external memory device (like a USB stick), separate from the recording of the device's internal memory. This is especially useful for taxi events or endurance races where drivers want to quickly grab data during a pit stop by exchanging USB sticks.
For rallying enthusiasts, Rally Mode can be used to record different stages of a rally during the race and to create a roadbook for the codriver ahead of the race. It will also start recording automatically as drivers approach the start line for a standing start event.
Before spending your bonus on some performance upgrades for your car to make it faster, consider buying the Race Navigator so you can be faster in every car you drive. It's intuitive to use and includes easy software for your computer or iPad to quickly analyze your lap times. As you become a better driver, you can purchase add-ons to get even more valuable data during your track days. If you are serious about becoming a better driver, the RN is a must-have gadget.