The funny thing about Data Acq in use by non-pro teams/drivers is
that it seems to be something they got because others have it.
I run an old AIM Mychron system on my ancient Formula 500 car and we
have a newer AIM Mychron Gold on my son's 80cc shifter kart. When we
are at the track with his kart it looks like we are the only ones
that actually download and look at the data between sessions. It
seems that most people that download at the track just store the data
to look at later when they get home. Others must wait until they get
home to download (maybe they don't have a notebook to download to).
Whereas most seem to use the display as an expensive tach/speedo I
look at our data to help primarily with jetting, gearing and tire
pressures and chassis setup. The EGT readings (along with old school
plug readings) help with jets, spark plugs and ignition
timing. Corner exit acceleration and straight-line top speed and RPM
readings help with gear selection and lateral "G" readings help with
tire pressures and chassis setup.
Track mapping, water temp, ambient temp, lap times and longitudinal G
are all interesting but not really helpful while at the track.
Now the track mapping as described at Bill would be interesting if
you can actually see when the track surface is in relation to the
line that your are taking because the track mapping that we obtain
from the Mychron software only shows the determined line (lateral and
longitudinal G) being taken and not the relation to the physical corner.
The other benefit to a Data system is it's ability to help you
protect your equipment. I have the progressive shift lights set so
that they gradually light up as Tyler pours on the power and go nuts
all flashing at him when he is getting to an over-rev
condition. Helps keep from blowing motors. Same thing with EGT and
Water Temp warning lights.
Just having a Data Acq system is not going to make you a
better/faster driver. Heck there are people in cars with just a tach
that don't even bother to look at that single instrument! You can
tell by hearing them hit the rev limiter constantly.
Do things change? Yes. We have seatbelts, roll bars, etc...
now. Those safety devices make us faster as well as safer. Analog
instruments were put in cars to tell us what is going on under the
hood. Now we have digital insrucments that allow us to play back a
session on track so that we can see what was going on under the hood
while we were too busy driving to pay attention.