If it seems like a groundbreaking new data system has been coming out every six months for the last couple of years, you’re right. Garmin has just debuted its Catalyst Driving Performance Optimizer, a data- and video-collecting and display tool that mounts in sight of the driver, gathers performance data and provides real-time audible coaching to help drivers function at their fullest potential. You read that right: real-time audible suggestions from the device to help you go faster while you’re still out on track turning laps. Incredible.
Garmin credits a group of motorsports enthusiasts within the company, known as the Garmin Pit Crew for spearheading this device.
“The True Optimal Lap feature on Catalyst is truly a gamechanger,” said Adam Spence, Garmin product manager and Garmin Pit Crew team lead. “Until now, the industry standard for theoretical fastest lap has been to split each lap into a number of sectors. Then take the fastest time from each sector and add it up to generate the user’s theoretical fastest lap. The problem is, based on the laws of physics, the suggested lap time can be unachievable. Catalyst is different. It gathers several data metrics and identifies where laps can be seamlessly joined together to create the fastest racing line. This shows users their fastest achievable time based on lines actually driven and gives them an optimal lap they can truly achieve.”
The audible coaching can be broadcast to the driver using compatible headsets or by streaming the prompts through the car’s stereo via Bluetooth. Audio cues occur before and after corners, delivering immediate feedback to the driver. Data gathering, display and interpretation is done on the same device and accessed via the display’s touch screen. Data and video can be displayed simultaneously. The system comes complete for $999.
Speed News will be doing a full feature on this device in an upcoming issue.