The RACELOGIC Tyre Temperature Monitoring System has been specifically designed to measure the highly transient surface temperature of a tyre, providing invaluable information for chassis tuning and driver development.
Each sensor can measure up to 16 temperature points on an object with surface temperatures ranging from -20° C to 300° C.
Why monitor tyre temperature?
Tyre performance is critical when you consider that the only contact the car has with the ground is a few square centimetres of rubber. The difference between a good and bad tyre setup can be the difference between a podium place and finishing last – or indeed not finishing at all. The whole car configuration distills down to those four small contact areas.
Tyre temperature is the most crucial part of the equation as racing rubber is designed to give the highest grip over a certain temperature range. Therefore, to get the best performance, you have to keep them within this operating window.
The traditional way to monitor this is to take a reading from each tyre as the car comes into the pits. But temperature measured like this is an average of the entire session and whilst it gives a rough idea, it is not ideal and certainly does not show the whole picture.
The only other feedback available comes from the driver, who will impart information based on their seat-of-the-pants impression of the car’s performance whilst at the wheel; only some drivers are good at this but it is always subjective.
Recognising the problem, Racelogic have introduced a new feature to their VBOX Video HD2 system that gets past the difficulties of tyre setup and allows for precise measurement of temperatures, whilst the car is moving.
VBOX infrared sensors, mounted in the proximity of each wheel, measure the temperature across the width of each tyre and the information is then recorded and overlaid in real-time on the video as a heat map. Consequently it is now possible for HD2 users to understand exactly what is happening to their rubber, at all points of the circuit. As this information is available on the video, it is extremely easy to interpret and see precisely what is happening.
Until you have seen the data, it is difficult to appreciate how much information you can gain from watching what happens to the surface of the tyre as the various loads change during braking, cornering and acceleration.
Take brake bias for instance, this is traditionally adjusted by driver feel and takes a fair amount of experience and car sensitivity. With the fast reacting temperature maps overlaid on the video, you can instantly see which tyres heat up first during the braking phase, and tweak the front to rear balance to even them out.
As a driver, it is often difficult to work out if you have locked the tyres up, but by watching the heat maps on the video you can spot when it happens, and on which tyre. This gives really useful data for setting up the suspension as well as the brakes.
As an example, Team Racelogic were testing their Fun Cup race car at a chilly Oulton Park earlier this year, with a track temperature of only a few degrees Centigrade. They were still struggling for front end grip, despite the fact that hand held measurements indicated that the front tyres were reaching optimal operating temperature.
Watching the video proved it was very much the opposite: when the car was out on the circuit, the surface of the tyre was being cooled by cold track and at high speed by the air. As the car slowed down and came into the pits, the surface of the tyre quickly heated up due to the heat soak from the main body of the tyre and the hot brakes, so static readings didn’t show the problem. After adjusting the pressures by a significant amount, the video showed the tyres retaining their temperature out on the track, resulting in less under-steer and an instant lap time improvement of 0.3 seconds.
This kind of data is invaluable when you are setting up the brakes, tyres and suspension of your race car, especially when you can just watch a video to work out what is happening extremely quickly and make simple adjustments to improve the performance of the car.
Want to know more?
You can download the datasheet here. The Racelogic Support Centre has more info on how to use the tyre temperature sensors with VBOX Video HD2.