If you are any­thing like me, you’d con­sid­er an hour­glass (or even a cal­en­dar) enough to record your own glacial pace around a race­track, lap after lap. In real­i­ty, even if you are attend­ing track­days with your car or motor­bike, like all of us, just for fun, hav­ing a vague idea of your lap times might be help­ful to under­stand if you are improv­ing your driving/riding or not.

As track­days open to every­one are not com­pet­i­tive, it is for­bid­den to take lap times (at least here in the UK) and despite most sport­bikes hav­ing a timer func­tion embed­ded in their dash­boards, I always found hav­ing to press the but­ton at the end of every lap an unwel­come dis­trac­tion.

Enter the omni-present GoPro cam­era, strapped some­where on the bike.
I’ve spent the last cou­ple of years, tim­ing my laps at home watch­ing GoPro record­ings of my ses­sions. It gets very tedious very quick­ly (just ask any of your friends you forced to watch said videos) and it is lit­er­al­ly time con­sum­ing.

Recent GoPros have an inte­grat­ed GPS chipset, run­ning at 18Hz, that will give you more than enough accu­rate tim­ing with­out hav­ing to buy any oth­er ded­i­cat­ed hard­ware (lap­ti­mer apps and exter­nal GPS receivers).

To analyse the data I recent­ly stum­bled upon Race Tech­nol­o­gy’s GoPro Race Analy­sis Soft­ware.
It runs on Win­dows only, but works smooth­ly for me on a Vir­tu­aBox instance on Mac. The inter­face is… fair­ly unfriend­ly at first. It remains unfriend­ly even lat­er on, but you can get the hang of it after a short while.

Screenshot of the software interface.

Once the .mp4 files from the GoPro are loaded in, the soft­ware will plot speed, posi­tion, accelerom­e­ter data, cir­cuit lay­out and video pre­view. Once the start/finish line mark­er is added it will cal­cu­late lap times, and sec­tors can be added. You can com­pare laps or sec­tors and export the rel­e­vant data and/or video part.

Screenshot of the software interface.

There are extra func­tion­al­i­ties like maths chan­nels, abil­i­ty to join GoPro chap­ters togeth­er (this is when the GoPro trun­cates videos in sev­er­al 4Gb files), video over­lays, and oth­ers that I haven’t real­ly tried and prob­a­bly won’t, as I’m more than sat­is­fied with it just sift­ing through all the video and giv­ing me the data with­out hav­ing to sit there spool­ing it all.

I’d love to see this run­ning native­ly on Mac or even just have a decent user inter­face but, to be hon­est, it does exact­ly what it says on the tin and it is well worth the £50ish license fee.