Microsoft OneNote for racers
As you develop your skills in Open Track events, and start to become comfortable with a particular racetrack, you will start to realize that you need to analyze each part of the track in detail. This allows you to methodologically focus on improving how you approach the turn, where you turn in, where your apex is and how you cross it, and how you exit the turn. Plus of course the relationship of that turn to the next one, and so on.
In other words, you start to document each aspect of the event. And not only information about the track, but starting with a list of what you need to pack for the weekend, the latest alignment specs you setup the car with, tire temps after each run, maps to the event and hotel reservations, and lots more.
This is where a great piece of software comes in: Microsoft OneNote. OneNote is a software notebook. Pages, tabs, and sections allow you to organize your information the way you want to. The ability to import graphics or to draw in freehand allows you to visualize and mark up information. If you have a Tablet PC, you can use a pen to draw diagrams and to annotate them with your notes.. A Tablet PC isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice addition to the capabilities and of course it’s very powerful to be able to carry the laptop around your garage area and to take notes with the driver during and following each track session.
If you have instrumented your car, and are storing the data in a file such as Excel, that file can be linked to or even imported into OneNote, where it can also annotated and highlighted. Now you can look for issues and start to methodically address them.
The example shown here is from Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2004. Engineers at the track use information store in and organized by OneNote to immediately modify the car for better performance. Engineers analyze the data to design car components and plan strategies to help win future races. They previously used pen and paper, but that information was difficult to share and inconvenient to use in the track environment. Imagine these kinds of notes for your local track. If you are an instructor, you could even build your instruction notes here and print them out for the student or class.
Whether you’ve got a TabletPC or not, this is the killer way to store your notes at the track. Alignments, tire pressures, other setup information, notes on the track, events results, and more. Everything stored in OneNote, even handwriting and images, is searchable and sharable. This is an extremely powerful tool and we consider it a must-have.