Autosport Article – Getting More From Your Data

Club drivers have more tools than ever to help them improve on track, but understanding
how to get the most out of them is where Your Data Driven comes in.

BY STEFAN MACKLEY

Data in motorsport is nothing new – it’s been used in the top tiers for decades. Now with data recorders better priced, and the raw data supposedly more accessible than ever, a greater number of club competitors are buying them in the hope of improving their driving.

But understanding the data and how it equates to laptime is not necessarily as straightforward as plug-in-and-go. Your Data Driven, founded by Samir Abid, is a website centred on helping club drivers to fulfil their potential.

A competitor himself – he started racing in the Locost Championship in 2005 and more recently competed in the 750 Motor Club’s Ma7da Championship. Abid believes there is a gap in the market to help drivers find performance out on track.

After working in vehicle dynamics – he developed suspension systems for road and racing cars – for companies such as Aston Martin and Jaguar for more than 10 years, Abid spent the next decade working alongside Olympic teams after setting up a sports engineering consultancy.

He used his ability to crunch numbers to help athletes find ‘marginal gains.’ Then, with COVID-19 affecting the availability of potential work, he turned what had initially been a hobby into his full-time job by offering help to fellow competitors.

Abid’s website offers a range of resources looking at different aspects of motorsport, such as race car engineering, data analysis and race car driving.

This is done through written advice, online courses and podcasts, which have featured well-known names from the world of motorsport including three-time British Touring Car champion Matt Neal, ex-Formula driver Perry McCarthy and renowned driver coach Rob Wilson.

But how does Your Data Driven work, and is it for everybody?

Stefan Mackley: How did Your Data Driven come to exist?

Samir Abid: I set Your Data Driven up about 18 months ago as a blog to help my fellow competitors. I’ve raced at club level with builders, accountants and gardeners and they don’t know about the data. I thought, ‘Why don’t I share some of my knowledge and information, because a lot of the technical stuff is overwhelming?’

I find it overwhelming and I’m meant to know about it! So the idea was to present a friendly face to the engineering and this data, and help people get more fun and more enjoyment front their racing,

Stefan Mackley: What is the main purpose of Your Data Driven?

SA: What I’m trying to do is help people be almost less frustrated, or less uncertain, or less unsure about what to do. And whether they choose to do it or not is up to them because it still has to be fun. It’s not their job and if at any point some of this stuff starts to become a job – if they’re feeling racing is less fun because they are now sitting having to do a data debrief – don’t do it.

What I’m trying to say is if you want to know how the professionals go about their work, this Is what you could try.

Stefan Mackley: Data in racing is nothing new, but it might be new to a lot of club drivers…

SA: Some of these data systems are ‘buy our system and you’ll go quicker.’ People will spend a not insignificant amount of money and then they get the information and it’s like, well I don’t understand it.

On the data side you’ve got two things you can do – you can look at the driver and you can look at the car. So my focus for a club environment is the driver first, because the most opportunity is in the driver. Everyone is trying to improve and you can always improve. The loggers are better priced and better quality than they’ve ever been, but what they don’t necessarily help you with is putting that process together

Stefan Mackley: With track time for club drivers is limited but invaluable. Will this help them get the most out of it?

SA: If we go and do some testing we’ll improve through the day, we’ll improve the laptime. But if we can improve your way of constructing a lap as a driver, that’s transferable to another track. It means that your limited track time becomes much more valuable because you’re not spending the first five or so minutes of your qualifying session learning the track. You spend maybe the first lap or two laps learning the track. So you can reduce the time required to get on the pace, and then once you have your plan it’s about then trying to execute it and that’s where the fun comes in.

Stefan Mackley: How does helping people In club motorsport compare with your role helping Olympians?

SA: In some ways it’s kind of similar, because what I was doing for Olympic sports teams is the same kind of thing I’m doing for the club racer. That is to try and help them get more value from technology when they may not be either interested in it or that comfortable using numbers, but they want to win.

I’m a bit of a detective, I like to dig into the numbers and ask, `What is that really saying?’, so then we can translate that back into improving a training programme_

Stefan Mackley: Would you recommend data analysis for everyone?

SA: People who like Your Data Driven want to learn. If you’re not interested in learning anymore, you know all there is to know about racing, great, my site’s probably not for you. If you’re curious and thinking. ‘Yeah, actually I’m not quite happy with the explanation I was given in the paddock about what to do’, then I try and help you find an answer.

Published: 15th April 2021, Autosport Magazine, National Supplement.