Making Sense of Squiggly Lines: The Basic Analysis of Race Car Data Acquisition

by Christopher Brown

This is another book written by an American author who is a keen amateur racing driver but wants to explain in great detail certain elements of how to improve performance. In this case, it is about data acquisition.

In his Preface, Brown queries the fact that there is a dearth of data acquisition books which rather overlooks Graham Templeman’s The Competition Car Data Logging Manual (Veloce Publishing), Simon McBeath’s Competition Car Data Logging (Haynes), and Analysis Techniques for Racecar Data Acquisition (SAE International) by Jorge Segers that were all published in 2008. However, this is not to undervalue this new edition which is well written and extremely comprehensive.

The author takes the reader by the hand to explain his definition of data acquisition and why it is important for the racing driver and motorsport engineer to understand the “squiggly lines.” He writes about how speed is the holy grail to data analysis and is the most important channel to log, explaining why he believes this. Braking and wheel slip fall into this category, Brown giving clear and precise reasons why these aspects need to be fully understood if you are to get the best out of your car. Other chapters cover rpm and gears, throttle and G force in some detail, all illustrated with excellent graphics and pictures.

As the author writes, this book has not been written to explain vehicle dynamics or give instructions on how to adjust a racecar, nor was it written to coach drivers. The goal is to help the reader make sense of the data that has already been collected on the racecar—and in that he fully succeeds.


Copyright 2011, William Kimberley (

(The reviewer is editor of Race Tech magazine, a monthly technology-led motorsport engineering magazine; Moto Tech, a publication along similar lines on motorbikes; and Bernoulli, a very specialist magazine on racecar aerodynamics and vehicle handling.)

Making Sense of Squiggly Lines
The Basic Analysis of Race Car Data Acquisition
by Christopher Brown
CB-Racing, 2011
144 pages, 166 figures and 15 tables
hardcover – ISBN 13: 978-0-9832593-0-5 ($49.95)
softcover – ISBN 13: 978-0-9832593-1-2 ($44.95)

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