How to Start Racing - buy your copy & accelerate up the grid

Posted: September 14, 2018

Once you have the track bug, perfecting the optimum lap and most efficient racing line can become an obsession! Whether you are new to track days or are looking to get serious and enter the world of motor racing; tracking your performance is a key part of your driver development.

Many of our clients that previously used traditional data loggers to do this are now opting for the more convenient and cost-effective option of GPS Track apps. In this blog, we provide an overview of the favourite apps, as well as available add-on options that advance reporting, data and video quality.

It’s worth noting these apps/devices can show live timing.  This is not allowed on track days – it is for test day use only.  In my experience, track day providers seem comfortable to allow the use of loggers, which can be reviewed once at home.  Some are looking for visible timers in car – at best you’ll be asked to remove the device, at worst you might be going home early. 

Getting started with data logging apps

Due to increasing popularity, the market is growing for GPS and data logging apps. If you are new to the world of track days or want to keep things simple, below are a selection of free/trial apps with good functionality we recommend:

TrackAddict Free

(limited to storing 3 recordings – Track Addict Pro is £8.99)

TrackAddict Free App

  • Road Course, Autocross, Rally, Drift, & Drag Racing
  • Works Almost Anywhere, 650+ Recognized Circuits, or Add Your Own
  • High-Definition Video Recording
  • Multiple Video+Data Overlay Options
  • Supports External GPS & OBD-II Devices
  • Lap, GPS, G-Force, & OBD-II Datalogging
  • Driving Line Analysis, Statistics & Lap Comparison
  • OBD-II Live Monitor, Code Scanning / Reset, and Datalogging
  • Optional Live Telemetry via (requires upgrade)
  • Record and Display in MPH or Km/h
  • Export Data & Video to RaceRender
  • Free Edition does not include live telemetry & adds a logo to videos
  • Integrated GPS Lap Timer & Display
  • Predictive Lap Timing (Circuit mode)


Track Day Genius Free

(free for 10 sessions with further options outlined below)

Track Day Genius App Stills
Pay As You Go’ purchase £2.99 per session or £4.99 for unlimited sessions per day. Subscriptions start from £19.99 a month.

  • Video sessions (record up to 1080p/60fps HD video direct from your iPhone)Telemetry overlay for video sessions
  • Full GoPro video import & control
  • Track line overlay on maps with 4 colour data zones; to visualise acceleration, coasting, light braking & heavy braking700+ preloaded race tracks with Leader boards
  • Dynamic vehicle profiles
  • Telemetry analysis including speed, acceleration/deceleration rate, cornering G-force & time difference
  • Real-time lap timing (accurate to 1/100th sec)
  • Predictive lap timing


RaceChrono for Android Free

RaceChrono App Stills Data Logging

  • Track library of over 2000 pre-made race tracks
  • Custom user defined circuit & point-to-point tracks
  • Smoothly scrolling data analysis with synchronised graph & map
  • Support for external GPS receivers
  • Unlimited session length, good for 24 hour races
  • Additional features available as in-app purchases or in the Pro version listed below


Getting serious

If you are craving more, whilst still remaining a cost-effective option, the full feature apps cram an impressive amount of in-depth performance analysis and data logging functionality into your phone. Our clients and the CAT community have rated the following as their favourite apps:

RaceChrono Pro - £17.99
RaceChrono Data Logging App Stills Pro

  • Track library of over 2000 pre-made race tracks
  • Custom user defined circuit & point-to-point tracks
  • Smoothly scrolling data analysis with synchronised graph, map & video
  • Hardware accelerated video export with configurable data overlay
  • Multiple camera recording & picture-in-picture video export
  • Video recording using internal camera
  • Remote control of GoPro® HERO 2, 3, 3+, 4 & 5 cameras
  • Linking & synchronising video files from almost all action cameras
  • Wi-Fi OBD-II reader
  • Support for Bluetooth LE heart rate monitors
  • Unlimited session length, good for 24 hour races
  • Session data export
  • Lap timing with sectors & optimal lap
  • Predictive lap timing & time delta graph


Harry's Lap Timer Petrolhead - £15.50 (other editions are available)
Video Data Logging Screen Harry's Lap Timer

  • ‘No Touch’ operation on track
  • Stores all sensor data in its database for later analysis
  • Visually shows line driven and lateral acceleration
  • Braking & acceleration points analysis
  • Corner & straight speeds analysis
  • Lap to lap comparison to analyse impact of line driven
  • Histogram view on speed, longitudinal+lateral acceleration, & height
  • Enhanced Analytics incl. video frame display
  • Records up to UHD 4K @ 60fps, as well as FullHD, HD & SD videos
  • Picture in Picture overlays
  • Can join data recorded on several devices in one database
  • Supports a large variety of internal and external sensors
  • OBD II integration
  • To date, the online database has more than 1,400 predefined tracks
  • Absolutely smooth and intuitive user interface
  • Includes a manual stop watch
  • Automatically starts & stops lap and sector timing using triggers
  • Shows times lapped by track as a Hall of Fame


RaceTime Full - £3.89

RacingTime Data Logging App

  • Use RaceTime without an internet connection

  • Record lean angle during your tours and circuits laps

  • Record G-Force during your tours and circuits laps

  • Record Rapid Bike data during your tours and circuits laps

  • Share your laps in real-time with LIVE TIMING

  • Analyze your laps with data and graphs viewable on your PC or tablet


Accuracy and upgrades

When considering investing in one of these apps, it’s important to note that the stand-alone versions rely on GPS data gathered from your device's internal GPS sensor. This will never be as powerful or accurate as a dedicated GPS receiver. The apps listed in this article are compatible with external GPS sources, as well as OBD-II dongles to provide more accurate data and vehicle dynamic reporting.

For those of you wanting to show off your best laps in style, you can also upgrade the video quality with dedicated action cams such as GoPro Hero 9.

To find out more about compatible upgrade options, Harry's Lap Timer founder, Harald Schlangmann, has written an in-depth article listing recommended accessories - click here to read.

Keeping it simple

When asking the CAT Community to recommend their favourite apps, we received a lot of praise for the AiM Solo 2 DL lap timer. Despite it not being an app, this precise yet simple GPS recorder can sync with your PC for data analysis - perfect for identifying new racing lines and corner approaches.

Currently retailing for around £360 it offers a happy medium between the simplicity and convenience of an app and the more traditional performance meters such as the VBOX Performance Box Touch.

AiM Solo 2 DL features

SOLO 2 DL Lap Timer

  • Connectable to every ECU for receiving and recording Data

  • 10 configurable RGB LEDs for simple Time +/- reference

  • Multiple use Modes: Speed, Times & Performance

  • Internal 4 GB memory

  • Automatic GPS Lap Timer

  • Simple New open or Closed Track Creation
  • Database, with more than 4,000 tracks worldwide

  • Automatic Track Recognition and start / stop

  • FREE Race Studio 3 Download

Sticking with tradition


If you are seeking the ultimate in GPS accuracy, car performance data and stunning wide-angle HD video with graphic overlay; the traditional data logging systems are still favoured amongst racing professionals due to their power and the quality of dynamic data.

The latest VBOX Video HD2 is used by well-known car manufacturers but will set you back around £2,724 for the entire package.


So … which option is best for me?

The benefit of the increasing variety in the market is that performance data is now accessible to all levels of driver. You can start with the free apps to dip your toe in the water, then slowly upgrade and add-on external devices as your driving journey evolves.

CAT client and racing pro Stefano Leaney shares his thoughts below:

Phones only really work with external GPS, this will suffice for most track day users. If you’re a track day hero, buy an Aim Solo, this will cover all of your needs. If you’re racing, then invest in something that gives you brake pressure and throttle too!!

The fastest upgrade for your track or racing performance is your driving technique. Our tailored track and racing courses allow you to hone your skills and unlock your potential and that of your car.

Our coaches have years of experience in both professional racing and engineering and will also work with you on vehicle set-up. To train with the best dynamic coaches in the UK contact us for a chat on 01234 757 633 and discuss your personal driving objectives.

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