By Lori Straus
You’ve scoured the Internet for your next modifications and you want to measure your car’s performance before and after you’ve installed them. Or you’re getting into autocross or other forms of racing and need to figure out how to improve your driving skills to win your next race. Do you need to spend tens of thousands of dollars for a vehicle performance tracking tool? Maybe not. We’ll cover three brands in vehicle performance tracking in this blog post and let you decide.
The big name in vehicle performance testing is VBOX Automotive. Vehicle and tire manufacturers globally use the device to test a vehicle’s performance, handling, and safety systems. Consider it the gold standard in vehicle performance testing.
The price, though, keeps many hobbyists from purchasing it. VBOX Sport, the consumer-level product, is available on Amazon, for example, from $700 to $7,641 CAD. The $700 model gets you a 20Hz GPS data logger to measure performance or lap times. The model for over $7,000 is a video system that combines a 10Hz VBOX GPS data logger with four cameras. It’s targeted at motor sport professionals and driving schools.
Even if you go for the $700 model, you could go a little cheaper.
G-Tech/Pro is made in the USA by Tesla Electronics. It measures all standard tests including zero to 60mph, ¼ mile, horsepower, torque, and more. It comes in two models: Super Sport (SS) and Road Racer (RR).
You can use the SS model to test your dragster, snowmobile, or any other road vehicle. You don’t even need to worry about your model year, because the device doesn’t require any wiring or hook-ups. It runs on a 50Hz GPS and 9-axial IMU sensor (includes accelerometer, gyro, and magnetometer).
The RR model is for the serious car enthusiast who wants accurate measures on their vehicle’s performance. It allows drivers to download their runs and overlay them on a PC. Like the SS model, the RR model comes with a 50Hz GPS core.
This model also comes with what the company calls “Thumbs Up” feedback. Large enough to see out of your peripheral vision, you can see if you’re ahead of your best time for a particular track/circuit or worse. This feature lets you adjust your driving in the moment instead of making you wait until after the run to analyze your results.
An additional bonus of both models is that they come with a resistive touch screen, which you can use with driver’s gloves on.
Prices for the G-Tech/Pro measurement tools range from $300-$400 USD (about $390-$520 CAD).
Dragy is another GPS-based performance meter. Made in Canada, it retails for about $179 USD (about $230 CAD). This meter uses a 10Hz GPS+ to track your vehicle’s performance within 1/100th of a second. The company claims it produces “identical results to the much more expensive and cumbersome VBOX system, in a less expensive and easier to use package.”
At only 1” x 3”, it sits on your dash using a built-in magnet when testing and rests in your glove compartment when you don’t need it. The device saves your runs in both metric and SAE formats, so you can choose the measurement system you’re most comfortable with. Future upgrades to the device include superimposing performance data over your mobile camera and virtual races with friends.
Tracking Your Vehicle Performance
You no longer need a complicated system to test changes in your vehicle’s performance. Neither the G-Tech/Pro nor the Dragy requires wiring. And the best part? Online reviews for both report favourable, accurate results. So go head and spend a little less to enjoy a hobby you love.