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The Theory And Practice Of Race Vehicle Data Acquisition And Analysis In Motor Sports Engineering Education

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

DELOS Best Paper Nominations

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1257.1 - 14.1257.17



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Paper Authors

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Guido Lopez Old Dominion University

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Anthony Seaber Old Dominion University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



Motorsports Engineering has currently reached an unprecedented level of technical sophistication. This unique field of engineering specialization is at the vanguard of automotive research and development for terrestrial transportation. It deals with high performance ground-vehicles, engines, and conventional and alternative fuels that are subjected to extreme conditions in race competitions. At the heart of ground-vehicle racing is data acquisition and analysis. Virtually every racecar in motorsports competitions is equipped with computerized systems that help engineers, technicians and drivers to measure vehicle-physical parameters, understand and evaluate car driver behavior and interaction, and implement strategies to optimize overall performance. This paper discusses the principles and practice of data acquisition and analysis under real-world conditions, a core aspect of education and training of motorsports engineering and technology students at Old Dominion University of Virginia. Race-vehicle parameters, such as: engine rotational speed (RPM), lateral and longitudinal acceleration, vehicle speed, track position, and steering angle, are examined in the context of racecar testing at the track of the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) of Danville, Virginia. General configurations of modern data acquisition systems for race competitions, and integration of camera systems, GPS, and track mapping are also discussed. Examples of procedures for collection of data at the race and data analysis are presented, in order to illustrate the emphasis and educational character of ODU’s motorsports engineering curricula, i.e.: Integration of theory and practice at real-life race track facilities, and racecar competitions.


Motorsports Engineering is an innovative field of education that focuses on high performance ground-vehicles, and motorcar racing. Car racing is commonly viewed by the public as entertainment. In reality, motorsports is an intensely complex field that requires a significant level of engineering and high-end technology in order to achieve a clear objective: defeat the competition and win the race. 3,7,9,11

Winning in motorsports brings considerable financial and technologic benefits to promoters, sponsors and automakers. As a result, motorsports has established itself as one of the most rapidly-growing industries in the US and worldwide. Furthermore, many experts agree that the golden age of national and international auto racing is occurring

Lopez, G., & Seaber, A. (2009, June), The Theory And Practice Of Race Vehicle Data Acquisition And Analysis In Motor Sports Engineering Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4814

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