The Racepak G2X offers features previously only found on pro data loggers costing thousand
Every so often, the planets align and all the right ingredients come together to form the perfect part for your car. Mix a highly motivated manufacturer, the need for speed, and a treasure trove of previously top-secret military technology, and you get Racepak's G2X. You've seen bits and pieces of the G2X's technology in other places. You can find GPS navigation systems in any Circuit City, you can find racecar data-loggers from dozens of companies, and disposable plastic "g-whiz" toys that suction-cup to your windshield are a staple of import kiddies everywhere. But make no mistake, in spite of the G2X's low price, it's no flimsy "toy," as we discovered on a hot September day with world renowned road racer, Boris Said.
At first glance, the G2X looks like a really nice lap timer with an instrument panel (IP) display. The well-lit LED panel greets you from behind the steering wheel, shouting out lap times and shift points (more on that in a minute) like the ones you've seen in dedicated race cars. The IP is connected to the G2X data logger, which is the brains of the operation. It collects up to 12 channels of external input (like engine rpm) and combines them in real time with data from its internal two-axis accelerometer, and position data from a roof-mounted GPS antenna. Together, all this info is stored in a removable Compact Flash (CF) data card, which can be plugged into any computer's data card reader.
For our test, the G2X was mounted temporarily on a "modified" Cosco infant seat using Velc
On the day we tested the G2X, we only used the basic input data from GPS, the accelerometer, and engine rpm (which the G2X gets from a residual pulse in the car's 12V power supply), and that's the way we think 99 percent of hot rodders will use it. Hit any road course or autocross and the G2X uses the super-accurate GPS signal to time your laps, and you don't need any external sensors or remote triggers set up trackside.
But lap times are just the beginning. When you're done making laps, pull out the 128MB CF card (good for several hours of driving), plug it into your laptop, and download your lap data. The graphic display will show a detailed scale map of the track, corner numbers, track segments, and your line through the circuit. The G2X breaks down your lap into segment times, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, and velocity. Compare several laps with each other, or laps from different cars, laps from different sessions, or laps from two different drivers-the choice is yours. You can even go to trackvision.net and download software for syncing your lap data with your own in-car video.
The G2X uses mil-spec connectors, a nice touch considering the severe use it sees.
Like we said, sometimes the planets align and all the right ingredients come together. Last September, we flew out to the Air Ride Challenge at Putnam Park road course in the Indianapolis suburbs. The guys at Air Ride Technologies put on an awesome track event for the press where they invite top race car drivers, and bring together some of the best hot rod technology in the business. That's how we met the Racepak people, and that's how we got Boris Said for our G2X test.
To show us how easy it is to install and use, Air Ride Technologies set us up with its Air Ride-equipped '66 Chevelle project car. The Racepak guys installed their G2X in the Chevelle in 15 minutes-about 10 minutes longer than normal because we took photos. You can see that it was absurdly easy in the accompanying pictures. We plugged road race and NASCAR driver Boris Said into the Chevelle and let him do his magic for a few laps. Afterward, I got into the same car and laid down what I thought were some pretty good laps, but the G2X data showed otherwise. On the computer screen, both our best laps were superimposed, showing that we had both run on the same track, but that was about it. A breakdown of segment times, segment speed, and cornering force shows in stark detail where my laps could improve-namely everywhere. The experience was eye-opening, both in terms of the G2X's resolution and accuracy, and for me as a driver.
The other end of the Power/Tach cable terminates in a 12V cigarette lighter plug.
The G2X creates a track model from the GPS data it collects. In fact, any stretch of road (or dirt or water for that matter) can be a track-even a parking lot autocross or a temporary street course. Once downloaded to your computer from the CF card, the data can be examined graphically. Take corner exit speed as an example. In this case, I discovered that Boris' exit speed was 10 to 15 mph faster than mine, giving him an equivalent advantage at the end of each straightaway. As a driving school junky, I was already familiar with all the tips instructors give, but the G2X graphics really drive the message home. In fact, Redline Track Events has made the G2X its official timing equipment for its series of Time Attack events.
The G2X has another big plus going for it that we didn't expect. The G2X is able to display engine rpm in the form of a sequential shift light on the IP display-now you, too, can be just like Michael Schumacher. You set the shift threshold in the IP display and the data logger reads rpm from the power supply-meaning you get all this with absolutely no extra wiring. Because the data logger knows both the engine speed and the vehicle speed, it can extrapolate the gear you're in-a feature you normally have to hardwire into the car with extra sensors. It's almost like magic and the display reads the correct gear every time. The guys at Racepak really thought of everything.
Whether you're making suspension changes, learning new driving techniques (such as trail braking or heel-toe downshifting), or comparing your laps with a friend's, the G2X is the tool to use. The guys at Racepak have made it an affordable one, too: the G2X price is average-Joe friendly at $943.50. The price includes everything you need for a typical musclecar installation: the G2X data logger, the IP dash display, all cables, the GPS antenna, CF memory card, 12V car power adapter, software for your laptop, and installation/usage manual. The system is designed to be either a permanent installation, or mounted temporarily (in case you want to move it from car to car). Boris Said, however, is optional.
The GPS antenna plugs in on this side of the box.
The antenna end of the GPS sensor attaches to the roof via a built-in magnet.
All data from the GPS signal and the internal accelerometers is stored on this 128MB CF ca
The lap timer display should go in an easily viewed location, which usually means directly
Boris and I flogged the Air Ride Technologies '66 Chevelle for several laps, until we both
The G2X is now all hooked-up, buckled-up, and ready to go. Before hitting the track, make
Meet Boris Said, driver of the SoBe/No Fear NASCAR Nextel Cup Ford. He also races in the G
After making laps, the data from the CF card was downloaded on a laptop in the pit area.
Here's the screen capture comparing my lap with Boris Said's. This plot shows vehicle spee