Onboard video analysis is great. After all, there is nothing better than seeing what you have done to be able to work out how to improve … Isn’t there? Do you really need to bother with data and squiggly lines too? I think you should and this is why …
With a well positioned camera angle you can precisely see the line you took, your turn in points and whether you made the apex. You can see whether you were on your own, got a tow or were blocked by traffic. You can also listen to your engine sounds to hear when you got back on the throttle, hear how smoothly you did it and even hear your lockups under braking.
Video is therefore your obvious first port of call. It also helps that watching a video is more natural than trying to make sense of charts and numbers on a graph. More natural and often quicker.
Issues With Video Analysis Alone
Whilst all of the above benefits are true, the issue with video is that it rapidly becomes extremely difficult to compare your laps with any precision. And it is the precision that you really want because data is how you learn, for sure, how to improve.
Comparing laps is a common approach in racing driver data analysis because it gives you a reference of what else is possible – be the laps your own or between teammates.
When comparing laps you will quickly want to look at lap time gained or lost on one lap relative to another. You want to know whether doing a corner in say 3rd would be faster than 4th. You want look at how effectively you were braking and whether you were getting all the grip that the tyre had to offer etc.
All of this is technically possible with video analysis alone but it involves counting video frames and continously re-aligning the onboard videos.
Hopefully that works for you as it is a perfect example of how rapidly complicated it becomes using video alone.
Data Hides Secrets To Speed
Whilst video is essential, it is in the charts and numbers where you are going to find the answers to your questions. It is your data that hides the real secrets which are going to help you piece together a faster lap.
No matter what your driving level, the data will be able to help you to pin point areas to work on – be that how to improve a particular corner or your core driving skills.
A Driving Plan That Will Work
What you are after is every time you hit the race track you are armed with a concrete plan of action. One where you know precisely where you should be aiming to place the car, when to turn-in and where (and how!) to brake for each and every corner.
That is the precision the charts and numbers can give you. Still not convinced? Here is another example where I’ve compared Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton using their data and onboard video from a qualifying session. Despite the learning curve, in my experience performance evaluation with data is worth it.
Where To Start With Data?
If you have data – say from AiM, VBox or Race Technology logger – but have no clue where to start, then make sure you check out my recent analysis articles and also this wonderful series of webinars by the AiM guys – Ep50 is my personal favourite 🤣
If you’re after a more “Cut to the chase, start here and use this proven step-by-step method” then enrolment is currently still open for my Complete Beginners Guide To Motorsports Data Analysis course. Be sure to scroll down that course page for a few sample lessons.
Do Your Future Self A Favour: Try Video Analysis + Data
You want your motorsports to be fun. Sometimes in your driving you get stuck, unsure how to make that next step. Your video analysis and data really can help you go from stuck to unstuck. Honestly!
Being unstuck means driving faster, safer and with more confidence. In other words, helping you to have even more fun!
If you’ve been put off in the past, perhaps have another look at using data and not just your video.
Your future self will thank you for it.
Looking for a place to start with race car data analysis? Try my “Complete Beginners Guide To Motorsports Data Analysis” online course.