SAE - Analysis Techniques for Racecar Data Acquisition

Organization: SAE
Publication Date: 30 March 2012
Page Count: 206


A proven way for athletes to be successful in any sporting discipline is for them to record their performance, analyze what has happened, and draw conclusions from the factors that influence that performance. Marathon runners log their running speed and distance with their heart rate to optimize their training schedules. Football players record their games on video to evaluate techniques, performance, and tactics. Chess players write down every move in a game to replay and analyze it afterward. They measure something, learn from it, and try to use it to their advantage next time.

In motor racing, sophisticated recording devices are used in conjunction with numerous sensors to record what the car and its driver are doing. Engineers often are employed full-time to maintain the system, analyze the recorded data, and draw the correct conclusions from it.

Motor racing is known for high-end technology, and this technology changes every day. Ten years ago, racecar data acquisition was somewhat limited to well-funded teams in high-profile championships. Nowadays, the cost of electronics has decreased dramatically. Powerful computers are available for very little expense. Data acquisition systems are now sold for the price of a single racing tire. This means data acquisition has become accessible to everyone.

Whatever the price of the data acquisition system, it is a waste of money if the recorded data is not interpreted correctly. This book contains enough information to prevent the investment in a data acquisition system from being a waste of money.

Whether measuring the performance of a Formula One racecar or that of a road-legal street car on the local drag strip, the dynamics of the vehicles and their drivers remain the same. Identical analysis techniques apply. This book contains a collection of techniques for analyzing data recorded by any vehicle's data acquisition system. It details how to measure the performance of the vehicle and driver, what can be learned from it, and how this information can be used to your advantage the next time the vehicle hits the track.