Maximize your next track day with some essential equipment.
Driving on a racetrack is arguably the most exciting thing a driving enthusiast can do in a car. It's also one of the best learning tools to make drivers better, with the right help, of course. While lapping a track without any professional direction might eventually improve someone's driving skills, we suggest a few helpful tools to speed up the process. By bringing a few handy gadgets to your next track day, you can "install" the ultimate upgrade to your car: a driver mod.
A driver mod is far superior to any mechanical or tuning upgrade because it makes you faster, not the car. By improving your driving skills, it doesn't matter if it's a Mazda Miata or a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4; the car will be faster with you at the helm. Here are some useful tools to help on your next track day event.
It's often difficult to remember everything learned on a track day, which is why we highly recommend a recording device like the Race Navigator (RN). This onboard telemetry device takes videos of your laps so you can rewatch them to analyze any mistakes. Rewatching laps will help novice drivers notice little elements such as their hand placement, pedal position, cornering speed, and car positioning.
RN offers several different versions of its hardware for different use cases. The RN LITE starts at under $2,000 and includes an HD camera, 64 GB of storage, cables, and a roll cage mount. The RN One adds a second camera at around $3,300, while the RN PRO Racing Bundle is aimed at racing teams with a price tag over $5,000. In addition to the base bundles, RN offers upgrades to take your track days to the next level.
In the video below, we see someone receiving coaching from a professional driver in a Porsche 911 GT3. She recorded her session using the RN device to go back to watch her lap and learn even more from it.
Driving on a real racetrack is the best way to hone your driving skills, but getting out to a local track is not always the most convenient trip. That is why advanced racing simulators attempt to capture as much of the experience as is technologically possible. Depending on how expensive your home simulator is, you can get extremely close to the feeling of a real car.
RN owners can now use their devices in conjunction with simulation racing games like Asseto Corsa. The software allows drivers to compare their virtual laps to real-life tracks using fully accurate GPS coordinates. Drivers can watch their real-life laps next to their digital footage to analyze faster ways around the track. It may not match the real thing, but it's pretty close.
Learning basic driving techniques and eliminating easy mistakes can help a driver, but the next skill level takes far more work. RN offers a Live Telemetry add-on that plugs into a car's ODB-II port. This tool provides helpful readouts of vehicle data such as throttle position, rpm, brake position, engine temperature, and more while also providing live warnings for minimum or maximum values.
Using this precise data, drivers can pinpoint minor flaws in their driving and improve them in the following lap. The RN software even lets drivers overlay their telemetry over the lap footage and post the videos to YouTube or share them live with a race team or fans. We've witnessed some epic Nurburgring laps filmed using this technology overlaid with telemetry, like this video at Monza in a Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo.
It's crucial to check tire pressures before going on track, but changes in temperature or other conditions can severely change during the course of a track day event. RN's tire pressure measurement system (TPMS) gives drivers a more advanced look at their pressures by replacing the stock valve. A wireless receiver feeds the information to the RN device, giving precise live values. Color-coded alerts are programmable into the system to alert drivers when a tire's pressure is too low.
RN's hardware is extremely advanced, but knowing what to do with that valuable data is tricky. Using the Race Navigator App, drivers can transfer their data to an iPad or Windows PC via Wi-Fi for more advanced analysis. Looking at the information on an iPad might be convenient in a paddock when there's no computer conveniently located. The software lets drivers rewatch their lap times with live telemetry, compare laps, and even break down specific corners. A Time Slip Chart specifically points out how many seconds you may have lost in a corner.