GM to Offer 'Performance Recorder' on 2015 Corvettes
Will Allow Enthusiasts to Record All Facets of Their Track Runs
Jan. 5, 2014 12:07 a.m. ET
LAS VEGAS—Blurring the line between racing and real life, Chevrolet is rolling out some high-tech video technology that will make its hard-core Corvette fans think they were on ESPN.
General Motors Co. will begin offering a fully integrated "Performance Data Recorder" that records everything from speed and lap time to the select choice of curse words shouted out by the driver after failing to negotiate a turn. The feature will be offered on the 2015 Corvette Stingray models due out later this year. Pricing wasn't disclosed.
Although the PDR appeals to only a Corvette track enthusiast, the technology—and the willingness of GM to use it—underscores new boundaries auto makers are now crossing as their presence in technology continues to grow. Once a bit player in the International Consumer Electronics Show, which opens this week, auto makers are flexing their muscle with high-end applications, cool features and long-term operational know-how that is giving Silicon Valley pause.
The PDR is a packaged high-definition camera mounted on the windshield trim that records the track from the driver's point of view from inside the car while a microphone picks up the sound.
A dedicated global positioning receiver records everything from engine speed and transmission-gear selection to braking force. A secure digital card in the glove compartment box collects all the data. The amount of recording varies but a 32 gigabyte card stores more than 13 hours of driving time.
The video will also include an overlay of the track, speed and G-force. All of it can also be emailed or posted on Facebook.
Chief driving instructor Rick Malone, crossing 115 miles an hour at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch about an hour outside of Las Vegas, pulled to a stop to show how just playing back the video on the Corvette's center screen is a first.
"If I was teaching a class and I wanted to show them a recent lap, I would have to get the chip, get out of the car, find a laptop and plug it in," Malone said. "But even then all you would see is a chart of lines. Now you can see the video in the car and I can show them where they did well or where they need to improve."
British motor sports company Cosworth helped develop the system. The company currently supplies the Corvette racing team's data acquisition and telemetry electronics system.