PALM SPRINGS, CA –unveils the industry’s first-ever Performance Data Recorder, a high-tech combination of software and hardware for the ’15 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray meant to offer everyday enthusiasts data and video of their driving experiences previously available only to professional race teams.
“The Performance Data Recorder combines the ability to record and share drive videos with the power of a professional-level motorsports telemetry system,” says Tadge Juechter, GM’s chief engineer-Corvette.
“Drivers can easily record and share their experiences driving down the Tail of the Dragon or lapping Road Atlanta,” Juechter says during a sneak peek of the technology here last month. “In addition, with the included telemetry software, users can analyze their laps in incredible detail and find opportunities to improve their driving and lap times.”
GM unveils the technology to the public later today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The automaker developed the PDR system with Cosworth, a British motorsports-engineering company that also supplies the Corvette Racing team’s data acquisition and telemetry electronics system. The PDR will be an available option on the ’15 Corvette Stingray when it begins scheduled production in third-quarter 2014. Pricing has not been released.
The PDR system consists of three major components: a 720p, high-definition camera, a telemetry recorder and a dedicated SD-card slot.
GM mounts the camera within the windshield headliner trim. It records through the windshield from the driver’s perspective. A dedicated microphone inside the cabin records audio.
The telemetry recorder uses a dedicated GPS receiver operating at five times the speed of the Corvette’s in-dash navigation system to precisely document the car’s position and trace its path through corners. The telemetry recorder also will pull vehicle information from the Corvette, such as engine speed, transmission-gear position, braking force and steering-wheel angle.
The SD card is in the glovebox. The amount of content it can record depends on the memory card, but GM says an 8GB card can accommodate about 200 minutes. A 32GB card will record 800 minutes, or roughly 13 hours of driving time.
The PDR system can record video with three overlay options, GM says, each rendered in real time and available for viewing on the Corvette’s 8-in. (203 mm) color touchscreen while parked or downloaded to a computer for editing, sharing with friends or posting to social media.
Track mode gives users the most information, such as speed, rpm, g-force, location-based map and lap time. Sport mode offers fewer details but retains key data, while Touring mode eliminates the data overlay and simply records and displays video and audio. Performance mode documents metrics such as 0-60 mpg (97 km/h) acceleration, 0.25-mile (0.4 km) speed and elapsed time and 0-100 mph (161 km/h) runs.
For a deeper dive into driving data, users can open recorded information in the Cosworth Toolbox software, giving them professional-level analysis. The Cosworth Toolbox also overlays a Bing-enabled satellite map of the track, giving drivers the opportunity to compare selected laps using corner traces, vehicle speeds and cornering force to help them improve their lap times.
The arrival of the PDR system comes one model year after the release of the seventh-generation Corvette. The technology’s release will coincide with the launch of the ’15 Chevy Corvette Z06, the range-topping variant of the nameplate making its debut this month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
It is unclear whether the PDR system will migrate to other GM vehicles, although given the slate of performance cars coming from the automaker it would make sense to broaden its availability. For example, GM launches later this year the ’14 Chevy Camaro Z/28, a 505-hp muscle car designed almost exclusively for track use.
Juechter jokes here that he was surprised GM was able to keep the PDR system under wraps, because the ’14 Corvette’s redesign included a notch in the headliner to accommodate the technology.
“Corvette enthusiasts never miss a thing, so I’m surprised no one ever asked about that notch,” he says, adding the video capability of the PDR system leaves other uses to the imagination. “I imagine it will get used for all sorts of things.”