February 2, 2018
NASCAR will provide its teams with more data in real time this season, giving them access to publicly available steering, brake, throttle and RPM information as well as live Loop Data for the first time.
The information will be provided for every driver on every lap of every session on track.
The steering, brake, throttle and RPM information has been available through NASCAR.com’s RaceView application, which uses the information provided by the electronic control units used in the electronic fuel injection systems. Some teams have created labor-intensive programs that scraped the data from RaceView, so NASCAR decided to save time and effort for teams by directly providing the information.
No other engine data will be released. The ECU can record 200 channels of information (of a possible 1,000 parameters). NASCAR assigns about 60 channels (including the steering, brake, throttle, and RPM), and teams can select another 140 channels to log through practices and races. Those channels will remain at the teams’ discretion and won’t be distributed by NASCAR.
NASCAR’s real-time data pipeline to teams this season also will include Loop Data, which was created in 2005 and has spawned numerous advanced statistical categories that have been available to the news media. The information was born out of a safety initiative that installed scoring loops around tracks after NASCAR ended the practice of racing to the caution flag in ‘03.
Previously, teams had been provided only lap speeds/times; now they will have speeds in sectors around the track marked by the scoring loops.
Teams still won’t be given Loop Data for the pits, where the scoring loops are installed to maintain a speed limit for safety. If a scoring loop in the pits were to fail during a race, teams theoretically could take advantage of that by speeding through that loop (particularly those whose pit stall is in that sector). NASCAR does provide teams with pit speeds after races.