Garmin Catalyst: Learn how to put the pedal to the metal

Track dayers: pay attention: there’s a revolutionary new device in town that’ll make you a faster driver instantly. Hard to believe? Meet the Garmin Catalyst. A no-nonsense motorsport driving performance optimiser that helps to improve your fastest lap times with real-time feedback, easy accessible and understandable post-race performance analysis, all in one device.

The best moment of a track day is the one you get when you get in the car. You start your engine, close your visor, take a deep breath and off you go. After some warming up laps, you sit down and go flat out.

But back in the pits, you do the number crunching while analysing your lap times and you wonder why you did not break your lap record. What if one easy to use device could help you out, do all the math for you and even coaches you to get a faster time on the clock? The Garmin Catalyst is here to help you out and especially developed to make life of a recreational racer a lot easier…and faster!

How does it work?

Anyone who is a bit familiar with the world of racing knows that lap times are largely influenced byhow well the drivers are able to tackle the corners. So instead of only measuring your lap times, you need to divide the lap into segments and know where you improve and where it gets worse. This is exactly where the collected data of the Catalyst comes into play.

The device, with a 7” touchscreen is mounted easily into your race car (the same goes for the HD camera that comes with the package). While you lap, it shows you all the info you’d expect, but in the meantime,  it records more than a thousand times per lap all the data it needs to analyse your effort. Don’t worry, we’ve made this analysis as easy as possible for you.

It’s very intuitive and can all be done on the same device; no additional computer is needed. Besides your lap times, it shows you where you brake, how hard and how long. The same goes for your speed, and it also shows where you are entering and exiting a corner.

The Catalyst is able to collect and analyse all this performance data thanks to True Track Positioning function, which is a combination of multiple GNSS, sensors and cameras. With the help of an elaborate algorithm for merging the data in combination with the camera footage, it is able to evaluate personal progress and identify areas for improvement. In this way, you can immediately obtain useful and understandable data to analyse your performance and improve your skills.

Your own virtual coach every lap

So far for the data, let’s talk about the magic that really unlocks your potential: True Optimal Lap. This feature merges your fastest segments together, but in a practical way. It shows the best drivable time you can actually achieve yourself. It tells you for example that you need to slow down a bit in one segment to gain more time in another. And did you make optimal use of all the track you could use, for example? Maybe a wider line would have given you a faster exit speed? The device helps you out again and shows your fastest racing line, so you know exactly in each corner if your apex was spot on, too early or too late.

Remember the camera that comes in the package? This will help you visualise all this data as well. The Catalyst can show a smooth video of that True Optimal Lap made from your own footage. And to have some references where to turn or brake for each corner, it shows an image of that exact spot. Now you know where to break (at the 100m sign) or where to start steering (at the tree on your right hand). This is exactly what you needed, right?

But what’s really revolutionary is the fact that the Catalyst provides real-time feedback on the track so you can improve on the next lap. The built-in audio coach helps you actually achieving that optimal lap time with audio cues about where to break, steer, hit the apex and more. And this is immediate! Every time you go quicker or nail a segment of the track, it actually tells you why you created a new best time.

Ease of use

There is no installation needed, the Catalyst is immediately ready to be used. After three laps, the device has collected enough data to start coaching. The performance data can be viewed afterwards directly on the device, or through the app. All this in an extremely intuitive and simple way, without having to download the acquired data and without the need for configurations or interpretations. This allows you to discover areas for improvement and manage your driving progression on your own.

The Catalyst has maps of over a 500 road racing tracks over the world, including each configuration of that track. However, it is possible to add new tracks very easily as well. Furthermore, you can add multiple driver and car profiles, in case you share a race car with friends or if you race in multiple cars. Via the Wi-Fi® connection, you can upload a summary to Garmin Connect™ app, so your recorded data is always accessible from a mobile device or computer. Now you can show off some other petrol heads that you’ve broken your lap record, again! Anybody calling Toto Wolff already?

See other Automotive blogs here!