Monday, November 16, 2020

More Autocross Analysis

There's a Sign Up Ahead!

(Congrats to 7 time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who took the title and won the race at a wild and slippery track in Turkey yesterday)

From my most recent autocross I thought I'd take a look at the video and timing to see if I can learn how to go faster. This is a little more specific than the general rule of "just make the car go faster, everywhere" and just might help me drive faster in the future. 

To start off, I have the Axware digital timing from each of 7 runs down to the thousandth of a second. A +1 means I hit a cone, and they add two seconds to the given time. The 40 seconds on the next to last run really  was 40.000, and it doesn't mean anything, but it's always cool to have a time exactly on the second! After working on course the first half of the day, I knew that I'd have to beat 40 seconds to be competitive, so getting on 40 exactly and under on 3 of 7 runs turned out OK. 

7 Runs, Top to Bottom

Beyond the overall time, I also split the course into 5 sectors on my Track Addict app, and while it didn't give me all 5 sectors on all 7 laps, I think there's enough information there to learn something. The App times are not exactly the same as the Axware times, but generally 0.3 seconds faster. 

Sector 1: Launch from a standing start, one turn and a short distance, about 5+ seconds. 

Sector 2: Driving through two elements up to 44mph, another 6+ seconds. 

Sector 3: A 6 cone slalom, I can always go faster on slaloms! Around 39mph, mostly 8+ seconds. 

Sector 4: On the gas after the slalom and around a huge sweeper of 180 degrees to start heading back towards the start/finish area, top speed 52mph, 14-16 seconds. 

Sector 5: Pretty much the 2nd half of the course, pretty wide open left/right elements

Green = Fastest

Run 4 and 6 didn't give me the sector times, and runs 3 and 5 didn't give a 1st sector time but lumped it into sector 2. 

Sector 4 Breakdown
Green is Fastest Sector
Yellow is Top Speed MPH

Take a look at the Sector 4 times, and what really sticks out in the sweeper was that the first 4 times are all 8.X, and then, all of a sudden the last run of the day was a 6.92, which is a LOT faster in one big curve. On that run I had just hit a cone in the slalom before, so I knew the extra 2 second penalty meant the run time wouldn't be my best, so maybe I just got mad and drove faster! At least in that one part of the run it was a good bit faster! Note to self: DRIVE MAD!

After seeing that dramatic gain of over a second in just the sweeper, I reviewed all the video run of that section and compared the car's speed at 5 points along that section. Well duh, the fastest run had higher speeds overall, but really only at one point was it more than 1mph faster. 

One more thing, here's all the runs again, and my fastest theoretical run, if I could have managed to be more consistent, and driven all my best sectors during the SAME run all at once: 

So what's the take-away here? Well shoot, I coulda/woulda/shoulda drove a 37.987 instead of my fastest of 39.548 so once again we're just back to the old "make the car go faster, everywhere" rule!

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