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Book Review

Book Review – Analysis Techniques for Racecar Data Acquisition

Analysis Techniques for Racecar Data Acquisition

Authored by Jorge Segers

185 Pages Paperback

 

Most serious racers who want to improve their track performance will be familiar with data acquisition. There are simple forms such as smart phone based devices that provide basic information up to very sophisticated systems such as we see being used in Formula One. Getting the data is one thing. Putting it to good use is another. If you are interested in getting a good start on using your newly acquired data acquisition system, I would recommend that you start with Bob Knox’s A Practical Guide for Data Analysis. After you’ve mastered that book, consider this one next: Analysis Techniques for Racecar Data Acquisition. As stated by Segers in the introduction “This book covers the use of electronic data logging systems in racecars. It is not a how-to manual for installing a data logger, selecting different components, or choosing the most appropriate configuration, although these topics are discussed briefly. This book is primarily about analyzing the endless data streams produced by the system. It is also about using this information to evaluate and optimize a given racecar’s setup. The data logging system provides information about how a car-driver combination is performing at a particular location on a racetrack. This book takes the analysis a step further and tries to determine why the car/driver is performing in this particular way at this particular place on the track. Upon completing the book, the reader will have the insight to effectively use competition car data acquisition. In this work, a mathematical approach to data analysis is emphasized, with the primary intention being to show the reader how even a limited amount of data can provide useful information about racecar dynamics.”

Let me start out by saying that I very impressed by the high level of technical knowledge presented in this book. I did not fully comprehend what I read. For starters, full understanding will require some pretty serious math skills on the part of the reader. I didn’t spot any differential equations but there is certainly some calculus involved. That said, much of the math is on the more mundane level of algebra and trig. What I found fascinating was the window into the powerful possibilities of data analysis as shown by the techniques presented by Segers. Even if you leave the math to others, you will see some really cool performance evaluation tools being presented. At a minimum, this book will help you understand what is going on behind your canned software package and thus, you’ll be a more sophisticated user of the results. But if you were of a mind to, you could use this text to write your own spreadsheets and be the master of your analysis universe.

Be warned, this is not an easy subject to master. This book is probably best suited to the aspiring race engineer who needs to get to a high level of mastery of the subject. That said, as a total noobie to the subject I came away with valuable insights into the many ways that data can be put to use.

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