Earlier this week we released Track Attack Lite for iOS and it marks one of the last steps into a shift to what we think is a better model for our users: try before you buy.
Track Attack is focused on bringing functionality and experiences that can only be achieved with $1,000+ worth of hardware and software. In doing so we have to overcome hurdles in pushing smartphones to use most of their sensors, network connections and a good chunk of their horsepower. Sometimes a user’s device simply won’t run Track Attack well and we don’t want someone to pay money for something that can’t immediately use.
We also have to overcome believability hurdles with potential customers; can we actually pull these type of experiences off with just a smartphone and for such a low cost?
Try Before You Buy
This is why we are now going to universally have Track Attack and all future versions/SKU’s of Track Attack be free to download, try it out for three full functional sessions and then upgrade to the different levels of Track Attack. Each platform has different regulations around what can be submitted as a Free app and with Apple’s case, we’ll have only one SKU initially, PRO – the full function version of Track Attack. After a user uses up their 3 free trial sessions, they will still be able to record GPS based sessions and build their driver profile, without video.
Try before you buy!
Upgrading is super easy
To record video, upload video, store unlimited amounts of video sessions online and share instantly simply upgrade to Track Attack PRO.
Upgrade to PRO to continue recording video
I bought Track Attack before Lite was available, what do I do now?
In the next 2-3 months, we will retire Track Attack only paid version and have only Track Attack Lite (then it will be renamed simply, Track Attack). Before we retire Track Attack Paid Only, we will release an update that will include a functionality to identify all of the owners of that SKU in our database. We will ask all of those users to make sure they upload all of their videos they want to keep and delete Track Attack.
They will then download Track Attack Lite and sign in to their account on Track Attack. The app will confirm you are a paid account user and immediately unlock full feature functionality. Further, users will be able to go to Session History and synchronize their session history online with their device. From then on, you’ll be back up and running with all of our session history.
We expect to roll out this transition by the end of August and retire Track Attack Paid Only by the end of September 2014.
What else is new?
While the main change is big, we wanted to include some new cool functionality. Keeping on the theme of making it as easy as possible for a new user to try Track Attack out, we also changed our initial app launch process. Now users can simply download Track Attack and start using it immediately. No need to register an account first.
Use Track Attack instantly and register an account later!
In fact, users don’t need to register ever unless they want to upload their session videos or create a user-created track. The trade-off is that all of the session data (lap times, GPS data and video) will be on the phone only and if anything happens to the phone, all the data is lost. Translation – you still want to create an account!
You still want to register an account though – don’t lose awesome footage like this!
As always, let us know what you think and spread the word about Track Attack! We have some great things planned and they will be even more awesome with a large and vibrant community of users!
Earlier this week we got approval for a small but important update to the iOS version of Track Attack.
The big update and change is the optimization for iOS7 – we took time to make sure we understood what the changes in iOS7 would do to Track Attack. Thankfully, the last version of Track Attack worked well on iOS7 by default but when we build and develop specifically for iOS 7, it is a different story. The UI has been updated to blend smoothly with the general iOS7 UI and we’ve made sure Track Attack is functional for all core features.
The new home screen on Track Attack for iOS 7
Session History Screen
New and Clean Session Details
Optimized Playback Screen for iPhone 5 and newer screens
Secondly, we made a number of small bug fixes and stabilization improvements. Most of these will go unnoticed but here are two which were reported by users:
Upload Hang Up – for some users, when initially starting an upload of a video, upload progress would stop after 1% of progress. The fix was to hard kill the app and re-launch it, of which upon re-launch and connection to Wi-Fi, the app would immediately start uploading.
Crashes associated with unique time zone/language settings. For very few users, there are unique and non-standard formats for time zone and language settings which would not allow the app to properly display session history.
Let us know what you think and look out for more updates this summer for Track Attack on iOS and across the other platforms!
Almost 6 months later, we have officially ended the beta period and launched the first commercial version of Track Attack for Windows Phone. Here is what is new with Track Attack GPS Lap Timer 1.0 for Windows Phone:
Windows Phone 7 support: We have many WP7 users and we appreciate your support. For WP7, we wanted to make sure you continued to have Track Attack but this will be the first and only release. With WP7 phones no longer being sold and them being a minority of WP handsets in the marketplace, within the next year almost all Wp7 phones will be out of the market.
Still Free to Test Run: Track Attack was free as a beta and we realize how important it is to try out an app like this before buying. So Track Attack will remain free as an initial download, with users being able to record up to 3 sessions with full functionality. At anytime a user can upgrade to Track Attack PRO – the full functionality you’ve come to use and love.
What about existing users? When the update hits, your existing data will persist and you will be able to view/share/upload with no limits. You will be able record 3 sessions as part of the free trial and then upgrade to continue using Track Attack.
Record up to 3 sessions for free with full functionality.
How much does it cost? The cost will vary in different markets but it will be ~$15USD.
Swipe to the left of the Drive Screen to Upgrade
UI changes and clean up: You’ll see the UI take a significant step forward in terms of cleaning it up, making it look like Track Attack on iOS/Android and in some cases, looking like a native Windows app. Most notably, you’ll see a much improved Session Record and Session Playback Screens. We’ll continue to fine tune the UI and expect to see regular updates.
New and cleaner session playback screen.
Newly cleaned up Session Record Screen
Cleaned up Session Details Screen
Bug Fixes and Performance Upgrades: As with all of our updates, we rolled out new features but we also cleaned up bugs that only happen in the real world. Users should see Track Attack be stable and performing well with many of the bug and performance enhancements we implemented.
April in the Pacific Northwest means that racing and track day season is about to get into full swing. This year, the Track Attack team moved platforms from the 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 competing primarily in the NASA (National Auto Sport Association) Time Trials 3 class (TT3) to more of a spec class. Why we made the change? We’ll cover that in a future post.
The new racecar – BMW PRO3 Spec
For 2014, we decided to focus on driver development and becoming the fastest driver possible, not necessarily developing the fastest race car possible. In the Northwest, that means getting into the PRO3 racing series. The PRO3 racing series is for the most part a spec class with clear rules on modifications allowed to create race car parity and make the driver and setup be the difference maker. As in all motorsports, the car still makes a difference but with 75+ built PRO3 race cars in the area and fields of 25+ on most weekends, there are a lot of reference points to help figure out how to get faster and opportunity to work on your race craft because there is always someone to race in the back of the pack, mid-pack or up front.
Race 1 – Rose City Opener at Portland International Raceways – No Chicane Configuration
This was the first race weekend of the season for PRO 3, the first of a 14 race season over 11 weekends. While we were there for the weekend, we took part in the last novice race as to compete in the main races, one must complete the full Novice program which entails 3 successfully completed novice races, volunteering, driver interviews and passing a driver exam. A pretty stringent program to make sure there are only competent and safe drivers competing.
Friday Test & Tune
On the Friday of race weekend, the local Portland driving club put on a HPDE event and racer Test & Tune which allowed us to really shake down the car for the first time after having a number of adjustments made to the car by Southlake European, just outside of Seattle. Many of the race weekend PRO3 cars were in attendance so it was a good opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the No Chicane configuration and see what some of the fast, very fast, veterans were doing. Each session was great with one exception, where a rain shower 20 minutes prior to the session left the track damp and we decided to swap to wets just in case it rained more during the session. Well, the rain never came and being stuck on wets felt like the car was parked on the track as car after car passed. Overall, it was a good day and lap times improved 2 full seconds over the day, with a fast lap of 1:27.996.
All day the forecast had called for showers and we watched as heavy rain showers fell around, but not on the race track. After a solid practice morning session, we got some good advice on tire pressure targets and went for it during qualifying. Despite being the second fastest most of the day, a Toyota Celica in another class must have caught a draft as they hit a miracle lap and out-qualified us by .031 seconds. We qualified third at 1:27.892.
Having the race be a novice race, with the emphasis on learning and being safe, they stewards gridded us in reverse qualifying order so we started P12 out of 14. Right as the race started, going in to t take it.
The pole position winner, however took it and that was the difference maker in the race. I followed him through but got stuck behind traffic for half a lap as he blasted past them. I made some ground on him but around lap 12 or so, it started raining around T4 – 8. On the 2nd or 3rd lap with rain coming down, I unnecessarily over-slowed going into T4 and that allowed him to grow the distance back and I wasn’t able to challenge for the rest of the race. I ended up in 2nd place and was running personal best laps at the end of the race, which was a good sign.
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.
In 2014 we have some big things planned for Track Attack in our products but also in our partnerships. This year we are partnering with up and coming Formula Drift driver Rob Primo, out of Seattle, WA. Rob has been a paving the road for drifters out of the Pacific Northwest in the US to work their way into the professional ranks.
Rob Primo at Formula Drift Long Beach 2013
Our goal is to help Rob be the best driver he can be and improve throughout the year with the capabilities that Track Attack brings to drivers. We’ll be with Rob throughout the year at the west coast Formula Drift events and all of his local events with NASA Northwest and Evergreen Drift. We’re also excited to bring you all the in-car action from his practice and competition rounds using Track Attack. As we get closer to Round 1 at Formula Drift Long Beach, we sat down with Rob to chat as he worked around the clock to get his car ready.
Track Attack:Thinking about driver development, what have you worked on during the off-season?
Rob:Since 2013 I have started to do a lot more visualization. Thinking back to the tracks I ran on the FD circuit and being critical of my driving. You have to be your biggest critic if you want to succeed. I also watch as many videos of other drivers as I can get. Watching drivers like Forsberg, Tuerck, Vaughn Gitten JR, Aasbo, Matt Field, Powers, and other get me super excited to get back out there. FD has some amazing drivers! I’m excited to share not just my highlight videos but also data and views of drifting at the Formula D level that are rarely seen so that other aspiring drivers can accelerate their development.
Track Attack: What’s new on the car for 2014?
Rob:We upgraded a few things. Didn’t want to reinvent the wheel as the car was pretty fast and consistent last year. But Turbo By Garrett has been amazing to our team and they provided us one of their new GTX4088R Turbos. This should hopefully get us into the 800 whp range and keep us fast. Pretty amazing we’re at this level with a non stroked 2JZ while still making tons of low end power. Garrett Turbos are amazing!
Also we looked to lighten the car. Lexan windows all around. A new fuel cell setup along with a tubed rear end.
Initially after last season we looked to just keep the car the same but in consulting with Ray from Garage Autohero we felt lightening the car would only be a good thing as my car was already way over the weight class I needed to be in for my desired tire size thus the tube frame rear was decided. Also putting all the weight in the very back of the car will provide some much needed traction. The lexan will also save some weight up high on the car.
We also upgraded our program. We have a full team. Ray from Garage Autohero and Brian Kirk from Portland Speed Industries (PSI) will be joining us throughout the season to be great company and provide awesome help. Joes Racing Products is on board we now have some key tools we didn’t have before. Keeping us ready and the car running proper. You all (Track Attack) have joined our program and I’m really looking forward to shooting all kinds of in car video with actual data! Having more than awesome music videos (which are great BTW) will allow me to really critique my driving and improve. It is starting to feel like a team this season!
Track Attack: What does the schedule look like in 2014?
Rob: Really excited about the year because we’re going to be on a race track all the time. Those tires will have to run for cover! I plan to run Formula D round 1 in long beach, Formula D round 5 in Seattle, Formula D round 6 in Texas, and Formula D round 7 at Irwindale. In between those events I will be running some NASA Northwest events on NW road tracks. I also may end up on Maryhill Loops a time or two like I did last year with Tuerck. But only time will tell.
We’ve made a lot of progress over the past couple months to get the Windows Phone version of Track Attack on par with the Android and iOS versions. Last week we released and the update was approved by the Windows Store for the latest beta. Here is what is included:
Support for all the new Session Types – Road Racing, Oval Racing, Auto-Cross, Rally-Cross, Rally Stage, Hill Climb, Drag Racing and Fun Run!
Ability to create new race tracks with all the new track and session types.
Improved lap detection and timing engine.
We expect the next release in the next two weeks and it may even be the final beta and first commercial release.
Track Attack is just for going around a track lap after lap? Think again.
With Track Attack, you can set up a straight line course for 1/4 mile, 1/8 mile, half mile or even air strip attacks. Here’s how:
Create your new track on the phone. You’re essentially creating a point-to-point track, similar to Auto-Cross, Rally Stages and Hill Climbs. Your new track will show up under User-Created section of the tracks when the app searches for nearby tracks.
While pulled over, create a new “Drag Racing” session. Select your track and hit ‘Start’ when you’re ready. Recording has started and timing will reset after you cross the Start Line. This is great so you can focus on driving and works even better for rolling start races.
Track Attack will stop a few seconds after you cross the finish line and flash the time for the race.
Here is a quick video on how to record a Drag Racing Session:
That’s it! You can immediately watch your race with data overlay. You can the upload the video and a few minutes later, you can share that session online for everyone to see.
You can upload when you connect to a reliable Wi-Fi connection.