What the Motorsports Industry Is Saying About Garmin Catalyst

What the Motorsports Industry Is Saying About Garmin Catalyst

The motorsports industry is loving Garmin Catalyst™. Learn more and see what they’re saying about the innovative driving performance optimiser*.

READ: Using the Garmin Catalyst to go Faster

Garmin Catalyst testing

We enlisted the help of Aldrin Villanueva, NASA’s sales and marketing representative, who has been progressing through HPDE, and could stand to benefit from using the Garmin Catalyst. In his first weekend in a new-to-him Subaru BRZ, Villanueva hooked it up and drove to the SoCal Region event at Buttonwillow in October. When we got back home, we caught up with him to see what he thought of the new Garmin Catalyst.

Accessibility & Design:

“Once you get to the main screen, you just hit the little helmet icon at the top. From there you can just add a driver and add a car,” Villanueva said. “So they definitely designed this very well that you can move it into different cars, and have different profiles. So if you share it between cars or if you share it between drivers, it’s super easy to switch back and forth, almost immediately because it’s just a clickable, it’s a click of two buttons.”

Audio Advice:

The Catalyst display mounts to the windshield and broadcasts its audio signal either to a Bluetooth equipped car stereo or to a pair of Air Pods. Villanueva connected the Catalyst to his stereo, but noted that with the windows open — as required by HPDE rules — the car blasting along at high speeds, and a helmet on, it isn’t always easy to hear. Bluetooth Air Pods or an in-helmet setup like a Sena could be the better call.

“If the windows were up, it would probably be fine, but you can’t have that on the racetrack,” Villanueva said. “So, I think you just need the headset and the helmet.”

Catalyst at Work:

The Catalyst unit takes a couple of laps to gather data from your driving, then begins to prompt you with tips for going faster in places and affirmations for corners you get right. It also shows your lap times and delta for the lap you are on.

“It doesn’t really show you the times or anything until about the third lap,” Villanueva said. “And after the third lap, it’ll start, it’ll kind of start coaching you and it’ll start telling you whether you did a great job by turning in early or braking earlier braking later, or using more of the track, it would give you kind of positive feedback, like great job braking later.

“So, it was easy. It wasn’t intrusive,” he continued. “And with a combination of having the big screen, if you were in that segment, and you were going slower, that screen is generally red, but if you’re going faster, it was green.”


“What makes it really beginner friendly is that it’s not dumping all of the info on you all at once. It’s breaking it up in segments and within those segments, it’s also breaking that up by braking, the proper line and your acceleration and your turning,” he added. “So it really, really kind of breaks things into like little chunks.”

Final thoughts:

“It’s definitely a useful tool,” Villanueva said. “I think for HPDE drivers and for, for TT drivers, um, for somebody that’s looking for something very simple and doesn’t have to plug anything in external sensors and have to plug in a GPS and data, they don’t have to plug an OBDII and stuff, I think there’s a big appeal with that.”

You can read the full article here.

WATCH: Eric Meyer, President of Instructor Summit, Interviews Driver Coach Peter Krause

Garmin Catalyst Instructor
Watch the full episode here.

LISTEN: Performance/Race Driver Coach Ross Bentley Interviews Lead Inventor Adam Spence from Garmin

Speed Secrets – Episode 106

READ: In-depth Product Review by Brett Becker of Speed News – the Official Publication of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA)

If it seems like a groundbreaking new data system has been coming out every 6 months for the last couple of years, you’re right. Garmin has just debuted its Garmin Catalyst Driving Performance Optimiser*, a data- and video-collecting and display tool that mounts in sight of the driver, gathers performance data and provides real-time audible coaching to help drivers function at their fullest potential. You read that right: real-time audible suggestions from the device to help you go faster while you’re still out on track turning laps. Incredible.

Garmin credits a group of motorsports enthusiasts within the company, known as the Garmin Pit Crew, for spearheading this device.

“The True Optimal Lap™ feature on Garmin Catalyst is truly a gamechanger,” said Adam Spence, Garmin product manager and Garmin Pit Crew team lead. “Until now, the industry standard for theoretical fastest lap has been to split each lap into a number of sectors. Then take the fastest time from each sector and add it up to generate the user’s theoretical fastest lap. The problem is, based on the laws of physics, the suggested lap time can be unachievable. Garmin Catalyst is different. It gathers several data metrics and identifies where laps can be seamlessly joined together to create the fastest racing line. This shows users their fastest achievable time based on lines actually driven and gives them an optimal lap they can truly achieve.”

The audible coaching can be broadcast to the driver using compatible headsets or by streaming the prompts through the car’s stereo via BLUETOOTH® technology. Audio cues occur before and after corners, delivering immediate feedback to the driver. Data gathering, display and interpretation is done on the same device and accessed via the display’s touchscreen. Data and video can be displayed simultaneously. The system comes complete for $999.

Speed News will be doing a full feature on this device in an upcoming issue.

*Warning: This device is intended only for recreational use in a circuit environment. Never use this device on public roadways. Failure to follow this warning may result in an accident causing property damage, serious personal injury, or death. You are responsible for using this device in a safe and prudent manner.

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