How do you work out how good your modifications to car and track are? Using a stopwatch on a track will show the big changes, but fine tuning your setup requires a more precise method. After spending hours enhancing your car are you sure that it is the most efficient it can be?
After reading some of the posts on this website and responding to FAQs from our users, we decided to help. We have developed a spreadsheet that will analyse the energy used by a car on a particular track. Using this data, we can quickly reveal how mods have improved, or reduced, the performance of a car, or the track. We can also review our car collection to find the most efficient car in the group. Perhaps that is the car we should send to the next race? Of course, the track set up needs to be considered as it also affects car performance and needs to be considered.
The Car Performance and Energy Calculator spreadsheet is available as a free download at www.cooksprojects.com. There is a video on how to use the spreadsheet to help analyse a car's performance on YouTube. Watch Video here
There are a few devices on the market that will measure the speed of your car. But many require modification of your track or long wires. Some are expensive. But as long as you can obtain a precise and reliable measurement of the speed of the car at a certain point, you can use this spreadsheet to show how efficient the car, and track, are. You can use this free download on any application capable of running spreadsheets readable in the excel format.
The device we used to measure the car speed is the Cook's Project Race Timer and Speedometer (available at cooksprojects.com). It is an easy-to-use device that simply needs placing over the track and powering up. No long wires or track modification are required. Nor do you need to measure the track length. The device can start a race with an audio and light sequence and measures the time taken and the speed of each car instantly and accurately revealing the winning car. When it is used in Speedometer mode, the unit concentrates on measuring the speed of the car to within 1/1000th of a second and instantly provides the speed in Km/h. There is also a datalink version that not only outputs more precise information to a connected computer, but provides more detail on the race and displays mph and m/s speeds. The datalink version also allows for the data to be easily copied and used in other applications. You can check out the detail of the race time here