The Art of Road Racing
winning insights for club racers

Video - a winning tool

A video camera is your most valuable tool for enhancing your enjoyment and progress in racing. It is the first racing tool that you should invest in.

There are more complex graphing type data acquisition systems, and those are helpful too. But they don’t show what’s happening in the car or in the race:

  • Is your great lap time due to catching a draft?
  • Were you slow in that turn because you were being passed?
  • Did you loop it because you hit the berm?

Video is especially helpful when combined with a delta lap timer. When visible in the video, the delta timer offers much of the benefit of graphing data systems, but with the additional benefit of seeing the context.

I recommend that you invest in a video camera and a delta lap timer from the very beginning of your racing career. Nothing else in racing will offer so much return for a $600-$800 investment.

A few good reasons for video:

  • Study and improve your pace.
  • Study and improve your racing/passing techniques.
  • Give your coach visibility into your driving.
  • Evidence to discuss of incidents with your fellow racers. And the stewards too!
  • Check your yellow flags compliance.
  • Fun for sharing your racing with friends!

A reasonable video setup consists of a GoPro camera and the appropriate motorsports mount. It is important to get a mount with a long arm so that the camera position can be adjusted optimally. I recommend something like this:

Optimally setting up and mounting the camera is critical for greatest benefit. A few tips:

  1. Mount camera at eye level close to the driver’s head. This will give a true view of the road, and allow the camera to see the rear view through mirror.

  2. Ideally you will be able to reach over your shoulder to click the record switch. This is another reason why you want to position the camera close to your head. This is really important, otherwise you will always need an assistant to start the camera recording.

  3. Position the camera to capture the steering wheel in addition to view through windshield. This is important to analyze the driver behavior.

  4. Ideally the camera should capture rear views through center mirror, and possibly the side mirrors. Being able to see trailing cars is important for analyzing race craft. Do not neglect those rear views.

  5. A curved rear view mirror is best for being able to catch view in camera. Wink mirrors won’t work here. You can add extra round mirrors on roll bar for additional views out the side.

  6. A GPS enabled camera is useful so that files have accurate create times and locations. This will help you keep your videos organized.

  7. Don’t go crazy on resolution. Use 720p so the file sizes are manageable.

  8. I like MPlayerX for playback. It is quick to skip forward and back ten seconds at a time using the arrow keys.