Not everyone has access to the best in the business when it comes to improving their race car, especially on a Club Racing budget.
What we all have, however, is access to Mazda as part of the Mazda Motorsports family. And with that Mazda access comes some of the best in the specialty business, such as Multimatic Motorsports.
Multimatic serves as a technical partner for Mazda Team Joest (Mazda’s Prototype racing team in IMSA – the International Motor Sports Association), providing technical support before, during, and after the race at the highest level of sports car racing. This includes monitoring data and telemetry, before, during, and after on-track sessions.
While your Club Racing setup may not be this intense, the process for the Mazda RT24-P is both a fascinating insight into how telemetry is captured and may provide some tips for you at home.
With the Prototype team, Multimatic monitors both the car and driver. Engine temperatures and pressures, gearbox temperatures and pressures, brake temperatures, tire temperatures, fuel loads – almost anything you can think of on the car shows up live in pit lane through a network carried over cellular data.
In addition, the speed of the car, throttle, brakes, gear and steering input travel back to pit lane as well.
That real time data collection is the head start those in the pits need to prepare for setup changes, without waiting for the session’s checkered flag.
That’s an important distinction, especially in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, where fractions of a second matter. But when it boils down to it, the hard part isn’t necessarily collecting the data – it’s interpreting them.
That’s where the Multimatic crew, working with Mazda Team Joest, really earn its worldwide reputation as the best in the business. That team includes Vehicle Dynamics Engineer Vice Libertucci, who sits trackside during every Mazda Team Joest session in 2018.
Those responsibilities, of course, cover both the car and the driver performance.
“You can watch a driver as he’s driving the lap,” Libertucci said. “You can see the lap with him. If you’ve made a change to the car, you can overlay the day’s previous best lap and see how he’s steering differently, how he’s braking differently. It gives you a heads up on what he’s experiencing before he even gets back.”
But with professional drivers behind the wheel at Mazda Team Joest, influences on the driver may well be predicated by changes in the car.
“We can see how setups are changing the chassis performance of the car,” Libertucci said. “Downforce going up or down, balance changing on the car. You can see if the car gets damaged, how that damage is affecting the performance. If the car gets dinged up during the race, you can see if you need to come in and change some bodywork.