Q: “What do you recommend for a basic/low-end video set up? I only get 2-3 race events a year. I’ve never had anything other than a roll bar mounted camera, which I haven’t bothered with in 7 years. I bought a used Chase cam system 2 years ago… and have never been able to get it to work, and now it’s old and no longer supported. I’ve seen some cell phone-based systems… those seem likely to toss my phone right out the window! What do you recommend.”
A: I recommend the Garmin Catalyst. It’s simple to use, you don’t have to download data/video to a laptop, it provides real-time audio coaching, the accuracy for the track position is better than anything else, the video quality is awesome, it stitches together an “optimal lap” video (your best segments all in one video), and so on. The phone apps are far too limited, and the data/camera systems (AiM, VBOX) are too expensive and hard to use for many drivers.
To be clear, I consulted on the development of the Garmin Catalyst, so you could say I’m biased. But I’m biased because I know it works for the exact type of use you’re looking for – that’s what it was designed for. And yes, there’s a little of me inside it (the audible coaching cues are based off what I would say).
I agree the Garmin is a fantastic unit! We use it all the time between 2 very experienced endurance drivers to work on getting the perfect lap. Also, understanding which traffic lines make sense to keep you on a good lap pace and which ones don’t.
Another great piece of equipment is the incar unit that takes your voice and overlays it to a video recording device. This way a coach or experienced driver can give his/her thoughts at each corner, apex thoughts and shifting points. It all gets recorded to your video to be played back right away.
I’ve had the Catalyst for 6 months and did 15+ track days with it. It is still just a video recording lap timer for me. I have attended a webinar on how to make use of it but just using the small screen to zoom and look at things especially without any throttle/brake inputs is super cumbersome. I am sure if Ross was there at the track with me he could blow my mind with the amount of information he’d extract from my sessions, I just don’t seem to be able to do it myself.