I know you guys like to see close Miata racing and these videos are a little different. They are produced using a new solid-state video product from Race Technology which allows up to 4 cameras plus data overlay in real-time. It is still in beta test but the videos came out pretty well.
You guys are already sold on Miata Racing but I am posting these around various forums so we get even more interest in the UK.
I've included my full forum post as you guys may also be interested in the background to the race weekend.
IF YOU JUST WANT TO WATCH THE VIDEO, GO TO THE END OF THIS POST
This is a bit of a multi-purpose, multi-forum post, the first part is for those interested in the VIDEO4 system from Race Technology. The second part is some commentary on the weekends races. The last part is links to Youtube videos which give a great insight into MX5 Racing in the UK and also demonstrate the sort of output you can get with the VIDEO4 system.
They are all ACTION PACKED. MX5 Race 2 contains a text commentary of some of my thoughts during the race which is something a bit different that I hope the "viewer" will enjoy.
Thanks to Keystone Group & CG-Lock I was able to do 4 races over the weekend of 18/19 October at Snetterton. 2 Races in the Nippon Challenge and 2 races in the Ma5da Racing series.
For those who don't know the VIDEO4 system is a new solid-state video recorder from Race Technology. It can take 4 bulletcam feeds and overlay them and any data from their DL1 data logger to a DVD quality video. It comes with comprehensive screen layout/config software and flexible DVD production software. Cost will be £799+VAT for the recorder & software. Expected Release Date Dec 2008.
NOTE:I have no commercial interest in Race Technology but am currently assisting them with development and beta testing of the VIDEO4 product.
Arrived at 8am after a 2hr+ drive. The car I was to be driving was new to me but as I looked around it I was pleased to see it had got 2 substantial video camera mounts which would suit my bulletcams just fine. I'd got me 12v feed sorted but there was no time to get cameras in for scrutineering and quali so ran without cameras in this session. I decided to go with just 3 cams, couldn't think of a worthwhile position for a 4th and so had not configured any screens.
All installed, wired up etc. but no video. I'd had some problems in testing the day before and had been supplied by some "reset" files from RT which needed to be copied onto a newly formatted card and inserted into the VIDEO4. It worked fine at home but no joy here, retried but still no go, then remembered that the VIDEO4 unit reads the files off the card and deletes this, not very helpful in this instance. Anyway, to cut a long very story short spent the next few hours, apart from fitting in race 1, dashing between my car/laptop to re-generate reset cards and dash cards. About 1/2hr before Race 2 I got some video output, it wasn''t the latest generation of my custom display but a fairly recent "in-progress" version which was good enough. I had prep'd 2 layouts, one with a full analogue dail display and one with a simple MPH readout, the plan was to use both but having got a version working I decided to leave it as is.
We had also had problems getting the lap and sector display to work and prior to this I had not got it working at all but had tried something different.
Was a great race with lots of action and was itching to see the video. It did work OK..ish. I did get some numbers in the lap and sector times but they didn't make sense. Also, the main picture (from cam1) had terrible shake .. I thought it must have come lose from it's mount but on checking it was rock solid. I then suspected the camera, I had heard of the camera internals shaking before so assumed this was the case here. I replaced the camera with a less hi-res version and, just to be safe, altered the mount to be more pliable. The original was a 520TVL camera which you really should use for the main view (or even a 580TVL) but the PIP (Picture in Picture) ones are fine with 420TVLs and it was one of these I had to use.
As it turned out it was a software issue. We only found out as the same thing had been seen on another beta test unit and was cured by a power reset.
Altered the .lap file to try and get some lap timing and with the main cam replaced I went out for quali. Came back, video looked great, no shake, but still no laptimes. Did'nt dare touch the VIDEO4 config so left it as is for the rest of the days 2 races, both of which came out fine.
b]Day 1 - Nippon Challenge Races x 2[/b]
Arrived at 10am after a 2hr+ drive. The car I was to be driving was new to me so one of the first jobs was to make sure the seat and belts were OK. Seat was a bit higher than the previous car I drove but this should make the gearchanges a bit easier, which I struggled with a little before. The steering wheel felt huge by MX5 standards but would do the job. The car had been quite competitive at previous rounds so was looking forward to a good result although a number of the best cars and drivers from other Mazda series were in attendance so an MX5 podium would be tough.
Out for quali and the car felt OK but loads of understeer, much more than i'd ever experienced in a MX5 before. Biggest problem was however traffic as there was a wide variety of cars taking part in the Nippon Challenge and possibly a wider range of driver experience. Typically we would have higher powered cars go past on the straights but hold us up in the corners, only got 2 laps that I'd consider clear. One was early on and not up to pace yet, the other late in the session that i'd hoped would be fairly good. It turned out to be about a second off the "none slipstream" pace which I suppose was OK considering I was not yet fully comfortable with the car.
Snetterton benefits hugely from slipstreaming and a number of the top cars had managed to hook up and get some very quick laptimes. I ended up 12th, bit disappointed but I had pretty much decided that Saturday would be more about getting the VIDEO4 stuff sorted than doing much in the Nippon Challenge. I had a quick look at the DL1 data but couldn't learn anything as the best lap pretty much had all the best sectors in it.
Still no video working so was up for the race. Got a poor start as I remember, had not managed to do a practice start beforehand. Can't remember much about the first lap as but as I crossed the line after lap 1 I noticed a white Integra coming at speed which went by on the right well before the braking zone for Turn 1. We hardly need to brake for T1 but as we got closer to the corner he moved back over to the left and braked hard, not only that but continued to brake into the corner. I had to also brake hard and to avoid hitting him I had to veer off to the left. Unfortunately at around 80mph I couldn't wrestle the car back on track, got onto the still slightly damp grass, still at around 60mph and ended up in the gravel.
Video now working, started 14th of the MX5s as grid is based on your 2nd fastest lap from quali, which for me was really early on. Made some very poor placement decisions early on and lost a number of places, it actually occured to me that, despite doing maybe a dozen races at Snett I had never done a sprint race there, they had all been Willhires/Enduros so had never really had to work too hard at keeping my position. Anyway, got me head down and made a few places back up until after 7 laps I noticed my temp gauge was at maximum and steam coming from under the bonnet, thankfully this was just approaching the Russell chicane at the end of the lap so was able to pull into the pits straight away. Turned out to be a snapped fan belt.
I was still very unhappy with the handling, also it was obvious that some of the cars had a little bit more grunt than I. Almost everyone was hitting the limiter in 4th down the Revett straight and needing 5th but I never did.
b]DAY 2 - MX5/MR2 Races x 2[/b]
Team had repaired the fanbelt, checked the timing and the compression, in doing this they found one burnt out spark plug and one lose sparkplug. Great! I thought, that's why I am so slow! I went out for quali hoping for better things.
Handling wise I had started to lower the front shocks and raise the rears, bit by bit. The usual settings are 18 front, 12 rear. Not sure what I ran for quali but by Race 2 I was on 12 front, 20 rear and still not really ideal handling with more of a tendency to understeer than I am used to with the MX5.
I still didn't really need 5th for the Revett straight but car felt a little stronger, maybe more to do with the cold morning air. I went a bit quicker, but so did others and I was again 12th of the MX5s, much bigger grid this time though, 38 cars. I'd looked at all the DL1 data and my times were very consistent, not suprising I suppose as I have done 1000s of laps of Snetterton. I was pretty sure that I was driving the car to it's full potential and couldn't see where I could gain more speed, maybe a 10th or 2 under brakes as I was still hesitant under braking as with the pedal layout could not heel & toe.
Reasonable start this time and some very hectic and robust racing. Again made a few poor placement decisions and lost a few then gained some back as the race progressed and finished 13th of the MX5s. Got some great VIDEO4 footage which is linked below.
Started 15th owing to 2nd best Quali time. Good Start and made up a number of places on lap 1 until, coming out of Russell we saw the red flag. An MR2 had gone off backwards into the barriers at Turn 1. We formed up back in our original positions so had to do it all again. Not such a good start 2nd time round, side swiped by a novice driver who thought it acceptable to use me as a brake a lost a few places. One of those to his teammate, another novice who used me for brakes at the esses and pushed me off onto the grass. I lost a load more places and spent the rest of the race clawing them back .. but only enough to finish where I started in 15th.
On the face of it a very disappointing weekend qualifying out of the top 10, 2 x DNFs on the Saturday and 2 race finishes, again outside the top 10 on the Sunday. However, I had some fabulous racing and I was pleased with the footage we got from the VIDEO4. I was pretty sure I was getting as much out of the car as it was possible to give, I was pressing the accelerator all the way down and using all the gip I could in the corners. Maybe I was a little light under brakes at times but mostly (have checked the data) I was braking as hard as the car would take. The handling was pretty bad compared to the other cars I'd driven but you can usually drive round that and it doesn't add up to over a second a lap. I've looked at the data and for the most part I am absolutely on it in every corner. I know the line there and am clinically accurate 95% of the time. Maybe the car was a little down on power compared to the front running cars but not more than many of the other Keystone cars. The guys up front all own their own cars and obviously spec them as highly as they are able. I wasn't aware before but there a number of thinsg you can do, quite legally and within the regs, that can give you a little more power, a little better driveability and handling. All added up it's perhaps not too surprising.
I DID however find where I was losing a lot of time. I suppose having always driven enduros there I had always kept well off the big curbs, especially those at the Russell chicane which you could not run and hope to finish in an endurance race. As you can see from the pics below, others not only used the curbs FULLY but also completely bypasses them and half the corner. We did hear that penalties would be applied but I didn't hear of any. As it leads onto the long start/finish straight, obviously speed carried through here would be a major benefit to the laptimes.
The MX5 Race 1 & Race 2 Videos are the more exciting ones if you just want a quick onboard racing fix, check out those first.
MX5 Race 1 Had to post this is 2 parts as there was so much action, well worth watching.
MX5 Race 2 I've included lap 1 from the first (red-flagged) start and the restart. This time I did manage to cut out the less interesting stuff and shrink it down to under the Youtube 10min limit. Again some great action, especially on the opening laps with a dozen cars nose to tail/side-by-side going through Riches & Sear.
Nippon Challenge Race 2 This is where we were having shake problems with the main bulletcam. There are 2 videos, 1) is the footage as captured and 2) is the footage processed via VirtualDub using the Deshake filter, it's pretty amazing what can be done.
UPDATE: Still struggling with De-Shake Filter, may post later