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Lap Time Analysis


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#1 ch103

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 01:04

I've always wondered this and have done alot of internet searching but haven't found an answer Im comfortable with, so Ill ask it here.

If you take two cars, lets just use Ferrari and McLaren for the sake of example.

On any track the Ferrari's lap time is 1:10 and the McLaren's lap time is 1:14. The McLaren is four seconds slower but I want to know what makes them four seconds slower.

Of that 4 seconds, what % is downforce advantage/disadvantage, what % is engine performance, what % is aero, what % is driver? How can these factors be obtained when comparing cars?

Again, you can switch Ferrari or McLaren, to be the faster or slower car in the example, I really could care less. But how do teams identify which areas they are strong in versus lacking in?

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#2 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 01:13

I'm sure grip is the most important % than those others.

Surely it is a simple matter of comparing which corners they are faster or slower in and by how much? If they are slower than others on straights then they have a power deficit or too much drag etc. Slower in a slower corner then they lack grip. Slower in a faster corner then they lack the extra grip provided by downforce. Etc.

#3 ferruccio

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 03:13

I've always wondered this and have done alot of internet searching but haven't found an answer Im comfortable with, so Ill ask it here.

If you take two cars, lets just use Ferrari and McLaren for the sake of example.

On any track the Ferrari's lap time is 1:10 and the McLaren's lap time is 1:14. The McLaren is four seconds slower but I want to know what makes them four seconds slower.

Of that 4 seconds, what % is downforce advantage/disadvantage, what % is engine performance, what % is aero, what % is driver? How can these factors be obtained when comparing cars?

Again, you can switch Ferrari or McLaren, to be the faster or slower car in the example, I really could care less. But how do teams identify which areas they are strong in versus lacking in?


They look at the data extracted from the car and analyze it in chart form. They would be able to see which car had more 'grip' (traction) where on the circuit by looking at the recorded g-force loadings. The higher the lateral g figures through the corner, the higher the traction available through the cars tyres. Similarly on accelerating out of corners and braking into a corner they look at longitudinal g force figures. the better the figure the quicker the car exits out of a corner or brakes into a corner. In all situations 'better' means faster lap times.

If the car isn't producing the expected g loadings they would study why and it would be either due to lack of aero grip (downforce), mechanical grip, power or driver. At this level of racing it is unlikely the driver and so we discount that plus it's very easy anyway to see from data if he is doing something wrong. Usually aero or mechanical grip and sometimes power.

The % of influence of those variables depend on what type of corner. Of course if on the straight it's just drag and power but for corners, slow ones are influenced more by mechanical grip, fast ones by aero grip.

All observable thanks to telemetry data