Theoretical Best Laps (and what we can learn from each other)

Last fall, Sahir brought his Miata to Pineview and allowed Josh and I to drive it. Sahir had just won the C4 class of the Pineview Challenge Cup the week before and was on pace. Josh is a two-time Challenge Cup overall winner and one of the fastest people I know. I haven’t won any championships, but I’m a self-proclaimed Miata and Pineview specialist, and I go fast when those two things are combined. So we all know the track really well, but our driving styles differ. I wanted to see by how much, and what we could learn from each other. 

I imported all the laps in Race Studio and threw out the first lap of each session. For some reason, the first laps create fast sector times that are impossible. Then I created a track map with seven sectors. Formula 1 uses three sectors, MotoGP uses four. I wanted to get more granular, and see where each driver was doing their best. This put the track divisions on the straights between T2-T3, T5-6, T7-T8, T10-T11, T11-T12, and T12-T13. See the shitty image below. 

I then used the Split Report feature to see how we did in each split. If you click the History tab on each sector, this gives you a histogram chart that makes it easier. A long green bar is a slow sector. A short red bar means the fastest sector time. Check it out. (Yellow bars are rolling laps, ignore for now.)

  • Run 3 is Sahir. He does six hot laps (laps 2-7) with a best lap of 1:18.537. He sets the fastest time in the sixth sector, the Blind Hairpin. 
  • Run 4 is Josh. You’ll notice he only puts in two laps with a best lap of 1:18.873. In an unfamiliar car, in two laps, he almost matches Sahir’s time (and only .1 seconds off Sahir’s PV Cup wining lap). Josh kills it in Sector 1. 
  • Run 5 is me. I do seven hot laps with a best lap of 1:17.674. I set the fastest time in the remaining sectors. Enh, I’m fast in Miatas, and on this track in particular. 

As good as any of us are individually, if you put all of our best sectors together, we’d do a 1:17.192! That’s half a second faster than I went, and about 1.5 seconds faster than Sahir and Josh. OK then, what can we learn from each other? 

In the following speed traces, Josh is black, Sahir is blue, and I’m red. I’m using the two fastest laps from each person. First let’s look at Josh, he’s magic in Sector 1. Notice on the bottom graph (time-distance) that one black squiggle that’s below all of the other colored lines. He has a higher minimum speed in T2, and puts some time in his pocket.

Next is sectors 2-5, and I’m fastest at three points in particular, circled in orange: In T4, my line allows me to get to the throttle earlier; In T7, I use a straighter approach that allows me to brake deeper and harder on the entry; In the Knuckle, I take a deep double-apex line that keeps my speed longer. Interestingly, we’re all very even in the Uphill Esses (notice that all the lines in the bottom graph are basically horizontal from 1700′-2400′). Nobody is winning that part. 

Sahir is fastest in Sector 6 by .01 seconds. The time-distance graph has a dip at 3500′ which corresponds to his speed advantage at that point. He’s simply braking later than us chickens, and that’s understandable because the Blind Hairpin has claimed a couple cars on the berm. 

In the final sector I gain a little time by braking later (notice the height of the red lines at 4100′), and I get another boost of speed right between Turns 14 and 15 at 4500′. (Ignore where the cursor is.)

None of us are professional drivers, and we can all improve by simply looking at what each other is doing. But this is really only possible by using data. It’s a bit late to make a New Year’s resolution, but if you aren’t using data, make a resolution to do that now instead of next year. I’ll be your accountability partner!

One thought on “Theoretical Best Laps (and what we can learn from each other)”

  1. I should get to the US and get some coaching!

    Från: Occam’s Racer
    Skickat: den 2 april 2021 15:43
    Till: Torbjörn Linderson
    Ämne: [New post] Theoretical Best Laps (and what we can learn from each other)

    occamsracers posted: ” Last fall, Sahir brought his Miata to Pineview and allowed Josh and I to drive it. Sahir had just won the C4 class of the Pineview Challenge Cup the week before and was on pace. Josh is a two-time Challenge Cup overall winner and one of the fastest peopl”

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