Overlaying data over the fast guy’s lap time can help drivers who aren’t as quick to lower their lap times. Add some beers to the mix and a data seminar becomes a data party.

It’s often the case where in a given region that many racers wind up using the same data system. Those data systems record every time you head out on track, which makes for a huge database just waiting to be mined. In the Southern California Region, we just hosted our first Spec Miata data party Saturday night after the day’s racing was over.

Since nearly all of us use the AiM Solo or Solo DL, we had a chance to put up the fastest lap we could find in our group, then overlay everyone else’s data on top of it so people could see where and perhaps how they could go faster. That depends on kindness and transparency from your group’s fastest driver, and without that fast lap, it’s less instructive, but our fast guy let us use his data, and we learned a lot that night.

It works especially well if you can plug the laptop into a projector and put the data up on a wall or screen for everyone to see easily. That was our plan, but the projector we had was a little older than the computer and we didn’t have the right cabling to make the connection, but even if everyone gathers around a laptop with a decent-size screen the concept can work.

If you’d rather not miss the NASA Saturday night barbecue, bring some beers to the classroom or clubhouse and keep it informal. It’s more fun than, say, a seminar in how to use the software, which is also something we learned along the way.

We did our overlays one racer at a time. The racer whose laps were being compared got the closest seat to the laptop, while everyone else looked on from behind.

We used the speed trace and the longitudinal acceleration trace in the AiM software along with the time delta at the bottom, which showed where racers were losing time and at what places on the track. It was great fun and hugely informative. Next time, we’ll be sure to get the right cable.

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