I am obsessed with creating content to post to YouTube and what better content than Track Day Videos.
It would be easy to suction cup a GoPro on the windshield and hit the record button during each session. But the end result is just your point of view driving through a road course. That’s where Telemetry Data can make things a bit more exciting to the viewer.
Telemetry Data is data recorded by a gps logger that is then interpreted by software that overlays speed, g-force, track position, and time. You can add an OBD II sensor to add vehicle data such as RPMs, Throttle, Air Intake Temp, etc. Adding an ECU reader can then collect brake pressure, current gear, etc… The options are limitless but may require more devices to record data and need special software to sync to a video.
Cars like the Corvette and Camaro have in dash PDR built into that can produce a very nice video.
APPS AND RECORDERS
Porsche has it’s own app called Porsche Track Precision that connects your smart phone to your Porsche via WIFI and with a windshield suction mount your phone can record dash video and the app will overlay data (Track Map, Speed, RPM, Throttle, Brake, Gear, Over/Understeer) as well as a Summary of your laps that can export individual laps or the full session so you can upload it to YouTube.
App tends to crash in the middle of a session
Only displays KPH
May require to resync data to video
There are plenty of devices race enthusiasts use to collect data but it can be in the thousands of dollars
Just to name a few, you can go into your own App Store and search Lap Timers for other programs.
I love RaceChrono Pro because the overlay is clean. I don’t have much experience with Harry’s Lap Timer because I found the interface to be a little more cumbersome but the video I have seen the overlay is not as clean but they have an excellent 3-2-1 when you’re about to turn into a turn AND it names which turn you’re on with speed. I may push through and test it on my next track day.
RaceChrono Pro is the only program, I have found, that can import GoPro video with data.
UPDATE: I recently went to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL where I tested out Harry’s Lap Timer. Below is my fastest lap at Barber. Here is my review: It’s a good program but RaceChrono Pro is easier to use. There are too many settings in Harry’s. I was able to pair it with my OBD II easily but I am not sure the data is correct or in sync. I was only able to figure out how to export 1 lap at a time and not the entire 13 lap session. I thought I found a setting but it ended up merging a video file without the gps log. I really like the Turn Numbering and Speed at the Straight and Turn pop up.
All you need is to mount your phone under the rear view mirror and away you go.
But! If you notice image quality is a little grainy AND shaky. More on that below
OTHER POST PRODUCTION TELEMETRY PROGRAM/SOFTWARE
There are many other programs that can take your video and GPS logged data to render a nice video.
The only ones I have experience with is Race Render and Telemetry Overlay. I did not like the interface of RaceRender and Telemetry Overlay does the trick but the overlay and delta information is not as clean.
The issues I had was data sometimes did not sync well AND the finish line was often wrong. Both of these cost money and have tons of settings that can be adjusted. It’s too much of a rabbit hole that I am not committed to do.
A SIMPLE SET UP
I use an iPhone 7 attached to a, non swiveling, horizontal phone holder with a GoPro sticky mount underneath the rear mirror for a lower profile. Suction cup mounts can be big and cumbersome and the ones with screw on attachments can be the worst because you’re pulling so many G’s that your phone can loosen and swivel away from the dash view. The other issue is glare and fuzzy image caused by the tiny rock chips and bug splats on the windshield. But Glare is the worst offender.
Using this set up you can export video that can be uploaded directly to YouTube for sharing
This has now become my redundant system
HIGHER PRODUCTION QUALITY
I’ve taken it a step further. I now use a GoPro Hero 7 Black on a GoPro suction mount either on the glass or above it aimed slightly higher than the hood. The GoPro Hero 7 Black produces outstanding quality AND it logs GPS data (you must make sure the GPS is turned on AND not in quick shot mode).
Another thing to keep in mind is that with the outside camera, the lens is susceptible to damage from track debris. I’ve had to replace my lens twice. The GoPro Hero 7 and 9 have replaceable lenses the 8 does not.
The downside is power. There is no way to hardwire safely outside the car so I had to buy 2 additional batteries and a charger. I swap batteries between sessions. Each session is 20-40mins long and could record 2 sessions but most likely it will run out of juice in the middle of the second session.
I have also added a second GoPro (a hero session) inside the cabin to get a view of me and my instructor. I once again used a GoPro sticky mount centered on the back windshield and then feed it power with a usb cable connected to the cigarette charger. (Note that GoPro Hero 6 and above will not charge while recording)
GOPRO SMART REMOTE
I paired both GoPro’s to a Smart Remote which allows me to power on and start and stop both cameras with a touch of a button. In theory this is the best controller for 2 GoPro cameras.
But sometimes only 1 connects and sometimes neither. Or in the middle of a session they both will disconnect leaving you wondering if they’re recording at all. Sometimes you think they are recording and they’re not and sometimes you think you stopped them but they didn’t or one stops and the other doesn’t. It works 75% of the time. Just be prepared for the 25%.
Worst case scenario, you start the cameras recording manually and just have to trim them later. Make sure you have a large enough sd card so you won’t run out of space
At the end of my track day I go home with 4 sources.
iPhone 7 Dash Recorded Video with Overlay (for redundancy purposes)
GoPro Hero 7 Black (has GPS data logger)
GoPro Hero Session (in cabin forward view)
GoPro Hero 4 (optional outside reverse camera)
Here are the next steps:
Import the GoPro Hero 7 Black videos into my iPad running RaceChrono Pro. This can be tricky because GoPro splits files greater than 4gb and name them in a manner that is not sortable. You’d have to sort by date in ascending order.
Name the session.
Trim the start and end time then export (AirDrop) to my Desktop computer (27″ iMac 2019)
On my Desktop, I run Final Cut Pro. It’s overkill but it allows me to overlay video Picture in Picture style. iMovie can do the same but it can only do 1 and sometimes I have a rear view which is 2 picture in pictures
In Final Cut Pro, I create an Event that groups all the videos in one spot. Then I create a projection for each individual session. Both exported RaceChrono Pro rendered video and Pro Hero Session files are imported into the event
This is where things can get a bit tedious but the final result is excellent!!
BUT RUBEN, I HAVE A PC
Final Cut Pro is available for PC but just like for the Mac it’s $299. There are many many other alternatives but the one I have hear a lot about is Filmora. I believe it’s $70. From what I have seen, pretty much all the editors will have the same or similar layout. The bottom is the timeline where you can drag and drop clips, the upper right is the preview and the left is the file list along with a directory/transition/titles.
What you’re looking for is something that can do Picture in Picture and can scale it or “transform”. Which should be pretty standard on any Video Editor
Do a quick google search and watch YouTube Reviews on the Editor you’re considering.
A friend of mine, Sean Phillips, recommended I sign up for this event about a year ago. He said it was a great experience with great people and with only Porsches.
Josh Vandergriff owns and operates Rennsport Dragon Rally among other events. Twice a year, June and October, he organizes a 3 day event centered around the The Tail of the Dragon. Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap with 318 curves in 11 miles: America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road.
CRUISING GROUP: A leisurely cruise through these mountains roads, as you would do during a Porsche Club drive.
TOURING GROUP: A step up from a cruise, where you will have some spirited driving mixed in. This is what most people would refer to as a “spirited drive’.
SPIRITED GROUP: This group is for former participants who know what to expect, drivers who really know these roads, or drivers who really know their car well and have significant driving skills.
FRIDAY, JUNE 4th 255 miles of driving 8am: Check-in opens 9am: Driver Meeting 10am: Staging and starting of drives 12:30 – 2:30pm: Lunch stop and open-house at Ohlin’s Suspension (they have three food trucks, and an ice cream truck. There will be BBQ, German, and Cuban food options) 6 – 8pm: Welcome Dinner at the Fontana Village Resort Event Center
SATURDAY, JUNE 5th – 245 miles of driving 9am: Driver Meeting 10am; Fontana Dam takeover and Photo Shoot Parade 12:30 – 1:30pm: Lunch stop in Maryville, TN (everyone is on their own for lunch and there are more than enough options) 4-6pm: Block takeover at Appalachian Driving Experience (everyone is on their own for dinner and there are 20 restaurants within a 1.5 mile radius) 7pm: Carolina Room at the Fontana Village Resort is reserved with a keg of beer and cash bar available
SUNDAY, JUNE 6th – 234 miles of driving 9am: Driver Meeting 11am: Snack stop 2:30 – 4pm: Late lunch / early dinner stop in Maryville, TN (everyone is on their own for food and there are more than enough options) 5:30pm: Return to Fontana Village Resort for the conclusion of the Spring 2021 Rennsport Dragon Rally!
The event is held at Fontana Village Resort and Marina. Very interesting story behind this resort. From what I understand it was built to house the workers who built the damn then it was sold and converted to a resort. The resort is quant but dated. There is no cell service and their wifi is decent.
The have the traditional rooms in the main lodge along with cabins spread out through the property. It has the basic amenities of lounging areas, pools, 2 restaurants and a large convention style room to hold meetings.
Rennsport Dragon Rally Registration: $149
Lodging for 3 nights: $329
DAY 1, Thursday, June 3, 2021
Met up with a group from Atlanta at the Quick Trip off Old Milton Parkway. We drove up and did Blood then made our way to Fontana Dam, NC where the resort is. Before we arrived we did the Skyway and Dragon but it was raining. Regardless we had a spirited run.
I met some great people. Michael and Colby in a 2015 Porsche Carrera 4S, Jeff Wolf in a Porsche Targa GTS4, Porsche Turbo,
Once we arrived at the resort we checked in. I stayed in room 107 while others were in cabins
Drove down to the Event Hall to register. There we signed a waiver and was given a pretty nice swag bag
From there I went up to the main lodge to have dinner where I met up with my new friends.
DAY 2, Friday, June 4th, 2021
We met up for the Drivers meeting at the Event Hall then we dispersed into our groups. I was in Group 1 but we couldn’t have a great drive because most of the day was spent behind local traffic.
We stopped for lunch at Ohlins, a performance shop and sponsor of the event. They had several food trucks. BBQ, Cuban Sandwhichs, German Schnitsels
DAY 3, Saturday, June 5, 2021
This day was much better. Began with a buffet breakfast at the main lodge, lined up in our groups, then went inside for a brief drivers meeting. This day was so much better than the previous day.
We began with a parade at the dam
Then proceeded to do The Tail of the Dragon along with other routes
At the end of 2020 there were rumblings of 2, possibly 3, vaccines that were in development. The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The first 2 require 2 doses a couple of weeks apart. the 3rd on required 1.
My concern was how rushed this vaccine came down the pipeline. This is the exact premise of how the Zombie Apocalypse or the end of humanity begins. Oh sure, this vaccine prevents you from contracting the Covid Virus that strange enough affects everyone different no matter what age or shape you’re in. But whose to know what the side effects are 1, 3, 5, 10 years from now could be?
Are we witnessing the origin of something devastating in the next 5 – 10 years??
Regardless, I made the decision to sign up. At the time, the vaccine had been given to front line workers and the elderly. Then a new wave opened up with some pretty interested qualifications. From being a care giver to being a parent of a child who has a condition to just having a BMI of over 21, which is everyone.
I had dinner with a friend of mine, 40 and in great shape, and said he received his first dose and he said he was a caregiver. They didn’t check to see if his role was true or not. He also told me a friend of ours signed up to be on a list of “excess” un used doses. Apparently, they have shelf life and if they don’t have enough people to receive it they have to throw it away so instead they give it to anyone who wants it.
I asked him to send me the site where he signed up. The Site was MyVaccineGeorgia.com. Which I found it a little tough to navigate through but when I did find a provider it sent me to a scheduling page where I figured out I had to constantly refresh until there was a time and date available. And when I did find it when I went to click on it the appointment had been taken.
I searched through a neighboring neighborhood FaceBook page on posts that contained people helping people to sign up. I found a post where a nurse who offered to assist anyone with signing up for the vaccine
I contacted her and she was able to get my girlfriend and I an appointment on March 19, 2021 and she was able to get us an appointment on March 26th.
We gave her our names, cell numbers, emails and availability. She asked us if we were willing to travel and the answer was, yes. She booked us 2 appointments with a Drive Through facility in Clarkesville, Georgia about an hour and 20 minutes from Atlanta.
We received and email with a questionnaire to fill our which ultimately gave us a QR code for us to show when we arrived at the facility
We arrived at the facility and navigated through cones where people were checked through by FEMA and some Military personnel. Very OutBreakish feeling.
My journey of driving fast through the twisty road of the mountains has led me to finally gain the nerve to take my car to the track. With the help of some friends that I met through a FaceBook group I registered for a Track Day at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
You just can’t show up and take your car through their 2.54 miles consisting of 12 turns.
The best way is to join a group that offers Track Days. The group basically rents out the track then sells individuals similar to how a promoter will pay a group then sell tickets.
There are many groups that rent out tracks all over so you have to check their website to see when and where tracks are available along with their procedures and requirements to participate in their event, these are the ones that I know of:
My friend Drew Fausnacht introduced me to Just Track It. I went to their website and found an available date and time (they fill up quick) and registered for their Friday, March 5th event which was the only one that I could register as a Novice and with an instructor. The other levels you could register are: Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, and Advanced.
I registered for the event on January 14, 2021 and the cost of the event was $299.99 + $50 for an instructor for the day. The instructor basically barters his time to help Novice drivers in exchange for a free track day. Not a bad deal. I opted for everything they had to offer;Vinyl Car number set, Apex Pro and OBD2 sensor so you can nerd out on technical data of your run. I did not install these on this go around, Lunch time touring laps, Professional photo package, and an instructor
My instructor was Tom Crookston, an older gentlemen who tracks his Porsche 924 with his best lap time of 1:40. The track record is 51 seconds set by a Formula 1 Ferrari F2003.
PRIOR TO RACE DAY
JTI, Just Track It, did an amazing job at making sure you knew what to do prior to arriving to the track.
First and fore most you need a SA2010 or newer Helmet. I chose a full faced matt black helmet from Bell that costs $469 that I purchased from the Shop at Atlanta Motorsports Park. I probably could have found it cheaper online but I needed to make sure the helmet fit properly and I couldn’t just go and try it out an not buy it from them.
The second and third crucial thing is to make sure the car you’re taking is safe by having a professional auto shop inspect and sign off along with using high temperature brake fluid. I took my Porsche to EuroFed in Decatur, Georgia who works on Porsches and other European cars.
I showed up the evening before the event to register, turn in my Tech form, and get instructions. When arriving to Road Atlanta, they did a temperature check then directed me to their in field Paddock where I went into a Blue trailer, gave them my name and they gave me a lanyard with the times of the sessions, a wrist band, vinyl decal numbers, and my Apex Pro and OBD sensor which I did not use.
Prior to arriving to the track, at 7:30am, I made sure to fill up with 93 octane fuel because I knew I would go through at least 1 tank before the day ended. In fact, I ended up having to go and refuel after my 3rd session.
I met up with my friend Drew, who has an awesome corvette and is a hell of a driver, with his girlfriend Angela where they set up a tent toward the back of the paddock.
The drivers meeting began at 8:30 where 2 instructors led us through a series of safety protocols, flag designations, track turns, passing lanes, hand signals, Corner Worker locations, dos and don’ts, and many other helpful information to make sure I maximized my time, enjoyment, and safety for the day.
In the lanyard they gave us was this super handy schedule of our day including heats, classroom, and lunch break.
Unfortunately, when it was our turn to go out, there had been a wreck prior to our session. Which caused a delay and reduction of laps. All good, because the Road Atlanta team made sure the person was safe, the vehicle was out of the way, and the track was back to ideal conditions.
Video just before the crash at Road Atlanta before the Novice group came out.
The following 5 videos are from a GoPro camera suction cupped to the top of the windshield which give the best clarity.
I had the best time! Being on a track with ideal conditions made this one of the best car experiences I have ever had. I had a fantastic instructor and good friends.