Palmer Motorsports Park Miata Data Analysis

Published: May 20, 2015

At the first Hooked on Driving Palmer event I had a unique opportunity to compare data from drivers of different experience levels in the same car. The car in question was a 1990 Mazda Miata on Bridgestone RE-11a street tires with a roll bar and otherwise stock.

Novice Vs Intermediate

First up is a novice vs intermediate driver comparison. This comparison is not completely fair because the intermediate driver was coached by me and the novice driver was not. But, it's the best I have at the moment.

The intermediate driver is carrying much more speed into turns 1, 5, 7/8 and 11/12 - all corners where high entry speed is possible.

Intermediate Vs Instructor

Next we have an intermediate driver vs an instructor who coached said intermediate driver (that would be me). In both cases there was a passenger in the car.

What is impressive about this graph is how close the intermediate driver is to the instructor. I generally see a much larger difference, especially considering that this was a new track.

The significant differences are:

Instructor Vs Attacking Instructor

Finally we have a comparison of me running conservatively in the second morning session with me attacking in the final session of the day. Unfortunately the tires have been getting hotter and more greasy throughout the day and they were the worst in the final session. In this graph I also include an early afternoon session in which I drove solo, to illustrate the progression from morning to afternoon to evening. In the final session I also ran solo.

By the end of the day I fixed the early apex in turn 13 which gives me better speed throughout the entire main straight, to the tune of about 1.5 seconds per lap. I am also shifting into 5th later which is worth some time.

I picked up 4 mph in turn 1 and was executing it pretty consistently. This was worth almost a second of lap time.

I stay on full throttle much deeper into turn 5, which gives me about 0.75 seconds.

I had a hard time with grip in turn 5 due to greasy tires, but managed early power application regardless and as a result lost very little time in this corner.

I was similarly charging into turn 8, picking up over a second. Then had a similar grip issue trying to turn the car at the turn in point in turn 8 and there it cost more lap time, about half a second.

I finally figured out a late apex line in turn 10 that worked. As it was late in the day I approached this corner conservatively which cost me some speed at the turn in point; however, the later apex paid big dividends in corner exit, gaining me nearly a second between turns 10 and 13.

Overall best lap time was 2:01.583.

Tagged: data analysis