General Motors has announced that the 2015 Chevrolet Corvettes will be available with a ‘Performance Data Recorder’ option that includes a camera to record 720p video along with the ability to also display and record telemetry such as engine RPM, gear, vehicle speed, and steering angle as well as throttle and brake inputs. The system includes a GPS receiver to track the location of the car around a track and uses SD cards to store the data. GM says that a 32 GB SD card will hold over 13 hours of video and telemetry data, and the result is a video that looks very much like the onboard shots from an ALMS or USCC Corvette racecar.
The data created by the Corvette is similar to the telemetry data used by the Corvette race teams to help setup the car and coach the drivers. By using the ‘Cosworth Toolbox’ software amateur racers can now view and compare lap times side by side to see exactly where they are losing time on each lap without having to buy a separate (and often very expensive) hardware data acquisition device. The Performance Data Recorder should help to bridge the gap between amateur and professional drivers. By analyzing the data racers should be able to become better, more consistent drivers, while also having something to show off to their friends or boast about after a track day.
While GM has not released pricing information they have indicated that the Performance Data Recorder will be available on all 2015 Corvettes. While few drivers will regularly use the telemetry data to improve their track times we predict that it will be a very popular option and we expect that similar options will eventually become available on other GM models as well as those of their competitors.