We’ve been busy! Track Attack Beta 4 was released this past weekend and we’re close to the final build. Here’s what’s new:
1. Download history bug fix
Some of our users who have been using the app for some time might be the ones who have changed phones or for some reason wanted to sync their session history from the site to their phones. We had some intermittent bugs with that sync process in the last build and that has been resolved.
2. Adding Google Analytics
Yes, this doesn’t sound very exciting but its really important in our ability to maintain a healthy product and improving on the features people are actually using. We’ve added Google Analytics to ensure we know how the app is being used and when we have bugs so we can react quickly.
3. New Home Screen Tile Icon
You likely saw the new icons on the store with the last build and we’ve received good feedback. While we aim to have a consistent set of features and UI across the three platforms (Android, iOS and Windows Phone), we also want to take advantage of the unique features each platform offers. Tiles and in the future, Live Tiles are a cool part of Windows Phone and we want Track Attack to seamlessly integrate into the platform.
4. Not New but Awesome – Predictive Lap Timer
Predictive lap timer is a feature we’ll be rolling out to Android and iOS versions but we started it all with Windows Phone. The way it works is simple. Within each lap-based session, as you drive, Track Attack keeps track of the fastest lap in that session. As you complete another lap, it will start displaying to you, real time, how much faster or slower you are going compared to that fastest lap at that location (geographic location) on the track. This way, if you feel like you are in a good lap, you can peak over at the app and if you see green, you are going faster. If you see red, you are going slower.
Also, during playback in the app, it shows you those values on the screen as you watch your lap. See the example below:
In this lap I am going .717 seconds slower at that specific location, compared to my fastest lap in that session
So check out the latest update to Track Attack GPS Lap Timer on Windows Phone and tell your friends!
This past weekend our Android users got a new update, release 1.1.3. Here is what was new in the build:
1. NEW FEATURE – Record using the front camera
If your phone has a front-facing camera, you can now use that camera to record video, instead of your normal camera at the back of the phone. When you get to the record screen, simply touch the “Camera toggle” button on the right side of the UI to switch between the front and rear facing cameras.
Why is that useful? Two main reasons:
If you’ve received training, you know a driving principle and speed secret is to look where you want to go! Recording a session where you focus on where you are looking (through turns and as ahead as possible) can be invaluable to your development as a driver. You can see on the data overlay where you are on the track and watch your eyes and head movements to see if you are consistently focusing on where you are going to be, not where you are right then and there.
If you are a racer (actual wheel to wheel racing), doing a race where you record the rear view can be valuable to understand how other drivers are trying to set you up and how you can react or set them up stop them from overtaking. Use the front-facing recording option to work on your race craft!
Using the front facing camera to evaluate how well you look where you want to go.
2. Upload video bug fixes and improvements
We made several improvements to the upload functionality to make it more stable and faster. This is for when you connect to Wi-Fi and upload your videos to our servers so they can be stored, processed and sliced up per lap (if they are lap based) and then easily shared online. We also fixed a few bugs we had noticed from users.
3. Streaming Video Fix
If you’ve uploaded your video to the site, you know how great it is to get large video files off of your phone and able to stream them directly from our site instantly to view anytime. We fixed bugs that had shown up in our analytics so the streaming of videos from the site should be much improved for those who ran into bugs.
4. No advertising for paying customers
A few customers who had upgraded to Pro and Lap Timer versions of the app indicated they were still seeing advertisements in the app. Those have been confirmed gone and if you buy Track Attack, you’ll never see ads again!
5. Improvements to the GPS Engine
We’re always trying to improve the GPS engine of the app to give the most accurate timings and data possible from the phone. We made a handful of improvements that will improve performance of specific devices and we found other areas we’ll improve in the future.
Last year was so much fun, why not do it again? I got to drive some amazing tracks, met some awesome people and even got on Top Gear UK’s website when I took part in the last episode of Tuerck’d. Going into this Formula Drift season I was really looking to keep things consistent and not try to drastically change the car. The plan was to perfect what we had instead of changing for sake of change. The focus was to make the car lighter and get some more power while still overall trying to keep our program similar. With the idea of keeping things the same I thought we’d be able to get a lot of practice in.
However it always seems to come down to the final days before we finish. Yes, we had not as much on our plate and yes, we should have been ready months ago but it just didn’t happen. But we had a realistic plan along with great partners and we made it happen.
Changes for 2014
During the Tuerck’d Oregon Trail video we ended up breaking our Gforce GSR transmission. PSI was great and managed the process for getting the transmission fixed.
Turbo By Garrett was awesome to us this year by getting us the new Garrett GTX4088R turbo.
Ray from Garage Autohero worked his fabrication magic and re-did the entire rear end of my car and added in a fuel cell.
My father took on the task of removing all the factory windows and replacing them with lighter/stronger lexan.
These changes reduced the weight of the car by 130lbs and the Turbo change netted us an additional 65 horsepower.
Of course Factory 83 also worked his magic and re-did the vinyl on the car.
The all up final product was the coolest and most race ready car I have ever owned and the entire team was ready for action!
As far as the FD season, I spoke to one of my great partners, Achilles and was offered the opportunity to join their program on the big rigs. But after some long deliberation I chose against it due to a multitude of reasons. Therefore we planned to just run the same 4 events. Round 1, 5 ,6 and 7
We officially finished the car the Sunday before Long Beach. Cutting it far too close however we were 2 days a head of last year so that says something “cough” Bad planning “cough”. Taking advantage of an open drift day at Evergreen Speedway we chose to bring the car back from PSI into Washington where we would test, then my team would load up and head down mid-week for Long Beach.
It was a long winter that’s for sure. I missed driving so much, but I’m honest when I say I was pushing the car and doing things I never had done to that point in my drifting career. Still far from where I want to be but very happy thus far and great for a shakedown day. I gave a number of ride-alongs that day on the FD course and even took part in a Landslide fundraiser to raise some funds for the people who tragically lost loved ones in the Oso Landslide. Was a great day overall.
Here are a few of my runs using Track Attack for Drifting. Track Attack is one of my new partners for 2014 and excited to share video with data with you all and leverage to help me become a better driver.
Going into Long Beach I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t having anxiety like I was when thinking about drifting the hills with Tuerck in Oregon Trail. However I was a bit nervous. Last year I came to Long Beach just hoping to leave with my car in one piece. Certainly not the mindset you want going into a place like Long Beach. This year I knew my skills were much better however I still wasn’t overly confident as this place is a challenging course.
Check out our new team shirts!
I spent Thursday going through Tech and assisting my team in getting the car ready for Friday. There was one thing I didn’t do this year and in fact I didn’t do last year. WALKTHE TRACK! This will surface its head later but once we had the car prepped we all went back to the hotel and got some much needed sleep.
Friday came and we were ready as ever. Final preparations were being made by the team as I was in the drivers meeting. I’m going to take this time and discuss one more big change to the 2014 team. We actually have a team. Ray Stonehocker, the man behind Garage Autohero is on board as much as his busy future father filled schedule will allow. He brings a ton of knowledge and ability to the team.
Additionally he really helps me calm down and focus in. Brian Kirk, who is one of the skilled hands from PSI is joining us to aid in prepping the car and making sure we are ready to go. My father is still loving this hobby and has even stepped up further by taking on the responsibility along with Brian, of driving the car to the west coast events. We also have my girlfriend, Lindsey, who is managing and will act as a spotter for a number of rounds when my spotter from last year, Lucas Perez, can’t make it.
Time to Drive (or Crash)
Remember when I mentioned the track walk and how I forgot to do that? Well first run out of the gate. I jam down the straight really calm and collected (not focused at all) and decide I’m going to look for tire marks to use as an approximation for initiating my drift. This caused me to completely overshoot the initiation point and go into the tire wall square on my driver’s side. There I sat, brand new awesome car with all the good stuff and I put it in the wall on run 1 in turn 1. I thought about waiting for the Aid car or tow truck but when I turned the wheel, the car seemed to move ok. I saw the tow truck turn the corner but I moved the car forward and proceeded to call off the tow truck as I drove the car into the pits.
My Team did a quick check of the car. I didn’t get out of the car as the door was caved in and I had concerns we would not be able to shut the door again. So after quickly removing the bumpers which were hanging off I was told to go right back to the front.
The cool thing was that I wasn’t shaken at all. I knew I had the ability to drive this track and that I made a miscalculation and didn’t realize how fast the car was in its new form. I warmed up the tires and proceeded to lay down run after run. Each getting better and better. I hot lapped the course as much as possible until my run group was done.
Once back in the pits my team proceeded to rebuild my car before qualifying. Hammers, zip-ties, cut off wheels, and tape were put to use and soon enough the car looked almost as good as it did before the hit. All that remained were a few dents and some scuffs. I actually liked the look. The car had some character.
Getting better and better.
Leading into qualifying I wasn’t nervous or thinking what could be? I was excited and ready. I lined up and launched the car. In the latter half of my run I actually thought “This is a good run!” But I spoke too soon and lost focus. On the final hairpin I pushed the final clipping cone and there went my good score.
I was disappointed but didn’t feel the pressure. I was ready for my second run.
I would need to wait awhile before I gota second run at the track. Leading up to my second run I started to think about Texas last year where I qualified for Top 32 and got to run the awesome Texas track over and over. I kept thinking about how awesome that was and how much I want to keep driving the Long Beach track. I didn’t want Top32 for glory or Facebook likes. I wanted top 32 simply to keep driving and having fun.
So leading up to my run I had a mindset that I never had before. I was willing to wreck my car if that’s what it took to qualify for this event. The car I had owned since 2002. The car I truly cared about. I’d write it off if need be. I was finally ready for Formula Drift.
I launched into my second run however it was over before I knew it. I got too much angle to start my run and I was moved off-line. I kept on the gas as hard as I could and was able to pull out the run and even bettered my first run with a very whacky line. However it wasn’t good enough. Honestly, my first run was much better and if I didn’t hit the cone in my first run I would have likely qualified.
But of course I would let it go right!? Just accept defeat and move on for the weekend? Yeah, that’s not happening. I watched the videos of my runs over and over. Nitpicking mistakes and being hypercritical. I could accept defeat for Long Beach but I HATED the idea of waiting until Formula D round 5 in Seattle as I wasn’t planning on running the east coast events.
So I talked with my team and ran a few ideas by everyone. We wanted to go east. I reached out to a driver I really respect and have known for a while. He just so happened to have a spot available. So my trailer ended up coming back to the NW empty as my S14 headed east. This is my whacky way of saying we are running 6 or possibly all 7 rounds. We may by pass Jersey, as most of the team won’t be there and the track honestly doesn’t look fun. But that is a call we will make in a few months.
Right now myself, Ray from Garage Autohero, and my father are working together to get my S13 practice car running. Some brand new Rays Gram Lights wheels are on the way along with some sticky Achilles 123s tires. I’m excited to get to drive my SR20engine again and hope to get some great practice before Formula D Atlanta.