Porsche Launches Track Precision App
Porsche has announced a new app to help track-day enthusiasts get the most from their Stuttgart rockets come race day. It’s called the Track Precision App, and it’s designed to provide weekend warriors with the data and references required to shave crucial tenths in the pursuit of lowest-lap-time glory.
“Four out of five of all Porsche GTs ever built have been driven on the track. One in three enthusiastic drivers take to the track in the first year to test the sporting limits of their vehicle and their own abilities. Porsche has developed the Track Precision app especially for such drivers,” the automaker says in a press release.
Using GPS data, video recordings and vehicle data from an auxiliary control unit, the app offers drivers a range of functions, both for on-track use and for analysis in the pits.
First, the driver selects his venue from a list of roughly 60 digitized international racetracks. Alternatively, the driver could add to the list with a single reference lap using the map editor. With the smartphone securely attached to the dash or windscreen, the app will begin to record as soon as the driver crosses the start/finish line. Data includes traction, (oversteer/understeer), steering angle, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, sector and lap times, engine rpm, gear position, throttle and brake pedal positions, and road speed.
The app comes as a free download for Android or iPhone smartphones through Google Play or iTunes. Availability is offered to owners of current-gen Cayman GT4, 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS models outfitted with the optional Sport Chrono Package. GT customers who opted out of this package can have the app retrofitted by Porsche Tequipment at a certified Porsche Center.
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Why it matters
Once upon a time, it was quite the costly proposition to deck out any car with the instrumentation required to analyze performance data at this level of detail. But now, software like Porsche’s Track Precision app are opening up a whole new world to the wannabe race car driver.
Chalk it up to that square bit of tech most folks haul around in their pocket. They call it a phone, but it’s also a text messenger, a gaming device, a web browser, a voice recorder, a camera, a navigation system, and thanks to apps like this, a track-day analyzer.
Software like Porsche’s Track Precision app are opening up a whole new world to the wannabe race car driver.
Using a specialized Porsche-developed control unit that pulls data directly from the car’s ECU, this app uses a WiFi signal to wirelessly transmit all pertinent information 10 times per second, giving users a highly accurate recreation of their on-track experience. Stuttgart is also offering an optional “lap trigger” through Porsche Tequipment, which is essentially a laser placed near the start/finish line. When the car crosses the line, it communicates with the app for even higher precision than GPS alone.
Another cool feature is the animated “ghost car,” which shows variations between laps with an animated vehicle that easily demonstrates the quicker line between the two. There’s also an animated cockpit that displays inputs and a variety of data for a driver’s seat recreation and further analysis. It’s all real-time synched and very accurate.
At the end of the day, this is exactly the kind of thing that both casual and serious performance enthusiasts can sink their teeth into. Simply going for a spin at the local track is fun, but if you want to improve, it takes data and analysis. How fast are you at the end of the back straight? What’s your maximum lateral grip through the chicane? How early are you on the throttle out of turn six? How long does it take for the tires to get up to temperature? These are all questions that are easily answered with apps like this.
VW offers data acquisition similar to Porsche’s app, as does Chevy. It’s not necessarily a difficult thing to produce – the data is already present in the ECU, while the functionality is there in the phone. All it takes is an interface and the software to pull it together. As such, expect many more performance apps in the future.
The GT philosophy is a simple one: offer the best possible driving experience for the performance-minded, with no frills attached. The Cayman GT4 holds true to this credo, pilfering bits from the 911 GT3 parts bin for a mid-engined sports car perfectly at home gripping through the apexes of the world’s most esteemed race tracks. Speaking of which, this car is purportedly capable of lapping the ‘Ring’s North Loop in just seven minutes, 40 seconds, while Porsche also claims the two-seater can still provide adequate levels of utility for street duty.
To distinguish it from it’s non-GT stablemates, the GT4 has a large fixed rear wing, larger front intakes and a lower stance. Motivation comes from a 385-horsepower, 3.8-liter flat-six powerplant, which drives the rear wheels via a standard six-speed manual. Either you row your own or you need not apply.
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