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Rick O'Shea
Rick O'Shea New Reader
9/3/20 1:44 p.m.

Newly announced product from Garmin. Looks pretty neat, and includes a camera. $1000 is a little spendy without any OBD2 compatibility but it seems to do things none of the other data loggers do.

 

Here's the write up from Ross Bentley I got this morning:

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been consulting with Garmin (yes, the watch, avionics, marine, GPS, etc. company) on a product for motorsport, and it’s just been announced. To say I’m excited about it is an understatement!

 

It’s called the Garmin Catalyst, and it’s kinda creating a new category within what might be considered the data/telemetry world. They define it as a driving performance optimizer. To me, it’s like what snowboarding was to skiing. Sure, both sports involved sliding down a snow-covered mountain, but they’re different. And sure, the Garmin Catalyst uses data, but it’s focused on helping you be a better driver and really optimize your time on the track.

Quick story: Not quite a year ago, I spent two full days driving at Heartland Park, focused on providing feedback on the usability of the Catalyst. For me, it was a blast! Two days of having a car and track to myself, and all I had to do was drive consistently at the limit and give feedback on how the Catalyst product worked for me. After all that track time, to say that I was comfortable driving at the limit was an understatement – I knew the car and track well. Towards the very end of the second day, I set out with one objective: to listen to the Catalyst – to have it coach me on what to do to be an even better driver. It told me to focus on three things (Opportunity 1, 2 & 3), and I did. After just half a dozen laps, I had knocked 0.9 seconds off my very best lap time! I was shocked. I thought I was already driving the car at its limit, and yet the Catalyst found almost a full second for me.

 

As author James Clear says, "When feedback is immediate, clear, and concrete, people learn quickly. When feedback is delayed, abstract, and opaque, people rarely learn." That’s the problem with most data systems – you don’t get the feedback until you’re back in the paddock, where you can’t do much about it (then you have to pull out the laptop, and interpret a bunch of squiggly lines on a screen). With the Garmin Catalyst, feedback is immediate, real-time, when you can do something about it.

 

I’m a huge proponent of using data to help improve one’s driving, but I’ve always felt that these data systems were designed by engineers, for engineers, and us drivers had to adapt them to help us improve our driving. The Garmin Catalyst is designed first by drivers, for drivers. It’s a driver’s tool. It’s like having a driver coach, like me, with you at all times – in the car, and between on-track sessions.

No, don’t worry, I’m not changing careers and becoming a salesperson for Garmin! But, having been involved in the development of the Catalyst, I’m proud of what it does. It’s going to revolutionize our track-driving world.

Check it out by clicking here.

Keep learning and having fun!

Ross

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam New Reader
9/3/20 2:51 p.m.

It definitely looks like a hell of a tool with lots of features. I expect quality to be top notch from Garmin as well.

No OBD2 wouldn't affect me at all since my car doesn't have it. An instructor put his Garmin camera (think GoPro style) on my car for a few sessions back at Gingerman in June. I was surprised how much data just the camera could collect. Even had track map overlay. I expect the Catalyst will be very impressive.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
9/3/20 4:11 p.m.

There's one sitting on my desk at the office. I'll have a full report as soon as I can get some track time with it.

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
9/3/20 4:23 p.m.
James Clear said:

When feedback is immediate, clear, and concrete, people learn quickly. When feedback is delayed, abstract, and opaque, people rarely learn.

I'm in. Very interested to see what you guys think of it.

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
9/3/20 5:25 p.m.

That looks pretty slick.  Too bad it can't use all of those sensors in conjunction with the camera to identify cones and create its own (autox) track map.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
10/1/20 10:19 a.m.

I'm testing it tomorrow at NCM. I want it to give me audio cues that include, "grow a pair" and "just send it."

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/1/20 10:27 a.m.
Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/1/20 10:59 a.m.

I heard about this last weekend, but I hadn't realized it actually gave verbal feedback. That is a really interesting thing!

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
10/1/20 12:40 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Have you seen it's automatic data analysis features? One of the cool ones is it will string together all the VIDEOS of your best micro sectors into one fairly seamless video. 

 

It gives you photos of where it thinks you need to brake earlier vs your average braking point. A bunch of nifty features.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/1/20 12:48 p.m.

Everything I know about it so far comes from Random Guy At The Track and this thread :)

docwyte
docwyte UberDork
10/1/20 12:57 p.m.

Friend had one at the track 1.5 weeks ago.  It's a really slick setup with some cool features.  There are some things I wish it had, like the ability to integrate ODB2 data like tach feed, throttle/brake etc.  It also can't output video/data/audio right now, only video and only the "best" lap it create.  That supposedly will be addressed but not until next year.

All that said I sold my Traqmate so I could get one of these and plan to pick one up this coming Spring.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
10/1/20 1:15 p.m.

Seems to be a great tool for track use, where you're repeatedly rounding the same circuit. 

I'm wondering about it's possible efficacy for analyzing autocross runs, particularly in comparison to Solo Storm. On track coaching is a fantastic feature, but I wonder how it's possible to utilize that feature in an autocross setting. Returning to the pit/grid to review your run is a standard technique in autocross.

Cost is also factor. A big reason I stick with autocross is that it's something I can afford.

I've already bought the Garmin Virb Ultra 30, which is the recommended camera for Solo Storm (thanks for the recommendation, JG). By buying the tablet next, and then waiting until still later to buy the Solo Storm program and GPS receiver, I'm able to stretch out the expenses.

Dave M (Forum Supporter)
Dave M (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/1/20 1:37 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah at that price I'm sticking with AIM.

If they put the ODB2 in it maybe the price would be more justified....

rex
rex New Reader
10/1/20 1:55 p.m.

Watched the video... it's a huge screen, takes up a lot of real estate in the cabin. It's practically a race dash. Can it be used as such in addition to the features it already provides? 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/1/20 2:07 p.m.
Dave M (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah at that price I'm sticking with AIM.

If they put the ODB2 in it maybe the price would be more justified....

Which AIM? The guy who told me about the Garmin is selling his Aim Solo datalogger for it, mostly because of frustration with the AIM software. Also, this is real-time vs being for later review. Different creature.

The Garmin should be able to pick up acceleration/braking via accelerometers. All you'll get from OBD2 will be a tach and maybe brake pressure if you have a vehicle-specific profile installed.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/1/20 2:07 p.m.

ok, possibly the best part of this review is that it took place while the driver taunted it while flogging a rental Kia.

 

Thanks!

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
10/1/20 2:46 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

I liked the taunt, then the following instruction a few moments later to apex earlier, followed by a "best" 

Dave M (Forum Supporter)
Dave M (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/1/20 5:07 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
Dave M (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah at that price I'm sticking with AIM.

If they put the ODB2 in it maybe the price would be more justified....

Which AIM? The guy who told me about the Garmin is selling his Aim Solo datalogger for it, mostly because of frustration with the AIM software. Also, this is real-time vs being for later review. Different creature.

The Garmin should be able to pick up acceleration/braking via accelerometers. All you'll get from OBD2 will be a tach and maybe brake pressure if you have a vehicle-specific profile installed.

Solo.  And I get it, the AIM software does not have a super-duper UI (not that Garmin stuff that I have used has a good UI either).  

And yes, it's for RT rather than afterwards, but I wouldn't shell out for both devices.  I guess if the goal is to get fast, I like the process of looking at the AIM logs from the comfort of a chair.  But maybe the Garmin thing will be somewhat like having a human coach in the passenger seat?  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/1/20 5:27 p.m.

I think that's exactly what it's supposed to be. Real-time suggestions with immediate feedback.

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 Reader
10/1/20 5:35 p.m.

I saw Ross Bentley was shilling this in one of his recent emails as he helped develop the coaching software. Really interesting way to integrate cockpit coaching during these pandemic times.....

Cool that we are getting into from a tech perspective for us HPDE loosers that have no chance to grow a set of balls large enough to get into racing.

loosecannon
loosecannon SuperDork
10/1/20 6:42 p.m.

Anybody try it for autocross yet?

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
10/1/20 7:16 p.m.
loosecannon said:

Anybody try it for autocross yet?

I  wonder if the platform could be adapted to autocross, even if that wasn't the intended purpose when first released. It may just require some software changes.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/1/20 7:20 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:
loosecannon said:

Anybody try it for autocross yet?

I  wonder if the platform could be adapted to autocross, even if that wasn't the intended purpose when first released. It may just require some software changes.

There are a lot of people who can't figure out how to navigate a cone course with a map, and you want a consumer grade single camera system to do it? ;)

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
10/1/20 7:33 p.m.

Oh, I've definitely been one of those people. Thankfully, I got better.

 

loosecannon
loosecannon SuperDork
10/1/20 7:39 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:
loosecannon said:

Anybody try it for autocross yet?

I  wonder if the platform could be adapted to autocross, even if that wasn't the intended purpose when first released. It may just require some software changes.

There are a lot of people who can't figure out how to navigate a cone course with a map, and you want a consumer grade single camera system to do it? ;)

No, I want the system to record my co-drivers and my laps and tell us where we were better or worse than each other.

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