The Garmin Catalyst mounts in the cockpit of a track car to gather performance data and provide real-time audible coaching to help drivers achieve their full driving potential on the track.
As soon as a driver completes a session, the Catalyst can deliver immediate session analysis and shows the driver the biggest areas of gain right on the device's display – no need to download data, configure graphs, or invest considerable time interpreting data.
Garmin credits a group of motorsports enthusiasts within the company, known as the Garmin Pit Crew, for delving into their passion to help create this industry-first optimiser. The international pit crew is comprised of Garmin employees with a shared interest in motorsports and varied expertise within high performance driving.
"The True Optimal Lap feature on Catalyst is truly a gamechanger," said Adam Spence, Garmin product manager and Garmin Pit Crew team lead. "Until now, the industry standard for theoretical fastest lap has been to split each lap into a number of sectors. Then take the fastest time from each sector and add it up to generate the user's theoretical fastest lap.
"The problem is, based on the laws of physics, the suggested lap time can be unachievable. Catalyst is different. It gathers several data metrics and identifies where laps can be seamlessly joined to create the fastest racing line. This shows users their fastest achievable time based on lines actually driven and gives them an optimal lap they can truly achieve."
In addition to the True Optimal Lap feature, the innovative feature-set also introduces new True Track Positioning technology designed to generate a car's racing line on the track using a robust combination of built-in accelerometers, image processing, and 10 Hz multi-GNSS positioning.
The included Remote Cam accessory captures 1080p HD video which can be played back on the Garmin Catalyst device with time-synced overlays showing speed, lap data, and more. While on the track and without any device interaction, the Garmin Catalyst will allow drivers to hear real-time coaching cues when using a compatible headset, or by streaming through the car's stereo via Bluetooth technology. The audio cues occur before and after corners, delivering immediate feedback such as early or late apex decisions without having to wait until the end of the lap.
Additionally, the Catalyst provides valuable performance metrics including best lap time, delta time, number of laps and session time. Adaptive suggestions also help inform users on how to better optimise their time on the track. Furthermore, a preloaded global track database makes it convenient to use the device on road courses around the world.
The good news is that being a publication known for its world class road test ability, we will be attending the physical launch of this product at the Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria on 18 September 2020, and our tamed racing driver and Road Test Editor, Mark Jones, will let you know if a clever machine can improve his lap times on the day.
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