TESTED: Laptimizer Race Data Management iPad App
If you’ve been hooked on the go-fast crackpipe long enough, you probably have a binder full of old race notes somewhere, even if it’s just some basic tire temp and pressure data scribbled on a scrap piece of paper. Maybe it’s in your trailer in a box labeled ‘spark plugs’, maybe it’s in your home office in a folder labeled ‘receipts’, or if you’re like me, your notes are in an old envelope in a duffle bag down in the basement.
Better still is the fact that the race notes you did take, no doubt collected in the heat of the moment during another rushed test session, are probably written in your worst chicken scratch and may in fact require the Long Island Medium to make any sense of. Which kind of defeats the point of taking notes in the first place. Just take a look at some of my old race notes to see how NOT to do it (lets call this first part of the story ‘Dave Pratte Race Notes Fail Compilation 2014’).
Among the many things that live down my basement is this well-traveled duffle bag. Inside the bag resides what I consider my ‘track day essentials’, including an AiM Solo lap timer/data acquisition system, a probe-type tire pyrometer, a tire pressure gauge, a tube of expired sun block, a baggie of zip ties, a roll of duct tape, an SA-rated helmet, a couple of Nomex head socks that haven’t been washed (ever), a pair of stanky racing shoes, several pairs of racing gloves, a spare T-shirt, GoPro and Contour action cameras with a variety of suction cup mounts, and that all-important envelope full of random papers including many of my so-called ‘race notes’.
There’s years of randomness in this envelope, including vehicle log books, racing organization memberships and licenses, instructions on which way to turn the knobs on dampers, not to mention some truly cryptic notes on alignment, ride height, tire pressures, and tire temps. Worse still is the fact that almost none of my notes are dated or have any indication of what track I was at, what track conditions were like, and other not-so-small bits of detail. Oh, and no mention of what car I was working on, either. Brilliant.
Every so often I did get ambitious and take some half-decent track notes on tire temps and pressures, especially when working with a new tire compound that I needed to learn about. Still no date, no track conditions, and no mention of what car or damper settings in use, though. That said, I have a pretty impressive memory for ‘80s Playboy bunny Zodiac signs and race car setups, so I can tell you this was during a test session last year in my Mazda RX-8, equipped with Moton Club Sport dampers and Hankook TD semi-slicks at Toronto Motorsports Park on a warm and sunny day. And because I always start with the same damper settings, I have a good idea where I ended up during this test session, but having some detailed notes to confirm my vivid imagination would be awfully handy next time I take the 8 to the track.
Turns out my long-time friend and fellow racer Sasha Anis from OnPoint Dyno must have been struggling with a similar level of disorganization, or at least witnessed my horrible note taking skills, since Sasha and his engineer and entrepreneur business partner Cameron Mackey recently developed a very cool iPad app called Laptimizer that’s designed to make keeping track of all your race car settings and test notes easy and readily accessible.
As Sasha explained, “As far as history on Laptimizer, Cam had the idea to build an iPad app to get rid of paper and pen from the racetrack. His inspiration for the app actually came from video game car setup screens, like the ones found in Gran Turismo, which made him wonder why we couldn't have that in real life, at the race track. I thought this was a brilliant idea and asked to become a partner, to provide ground level ideas as an end-user and racer.”