My name is Ray Phillips and I have been involved with racing since 1994 when I started crewing for a driver of a Formula Vee open wheel race car. Racing was (and still is) my passion. Going back a few years prior to 1994, I was in college and I had dreams of becoming a professional race car driver. Of course I knew absolutely nothing about what it would take to become a professional race car driver. Let's just say that my parents persuaded me to continue to get my degree instead. And this was definitely the right decision because I eventually started making enough money to race myself and in 1997 I purchased the Formula Vee that I was first exposed to. And I was hooked!
I raced Formula Vees from 1997 to 2011 in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and I enjoyed some success. I also became an SCCA instructor in 2003 and I also became an instructor/driver coach for our local Ferrari Club that same year. But when I put a data acquisition system in my car it opened my eyes to a whole new world.
I have always been very analytical and I certainly analyzed my driving the best way I could without data but things can get very foggy in your mind when you are at speed on a race track. It becomes very difficult to recall exactly what happened on the 2nd lap out of the ten that you did. You might be 100% sure that you took that high speed turn at 100% full throttle but then you look at the data and see that your right foot didn't agree with the instruction from your brain and there was a slight lift just after you turned in.
The data system that I had in my Formula Vee was pretty basic but I made sure I had sensors that could tell me what I was doing as a driver -- steering, brake, and throttle. Of course a two axis accelerometer is also extremely valuable but that is standard in most (if not all) systems these days. There is so much that can be determined by just having these sensors alone but there is so much more that can be deciphered if you have the car wired with shock sensors, individual wheel sensors, GPS, temperature sensors, pressure sensors, etc. The Formula Vee with the data system that I had gave me a taste of what can be done with data but I wanted to learn more.
Racing is an expensive hobby and I knew that my years of racing in real life were numbered because of the cost -- having some money for retirement is not a bad idea!! So what did I do? I sold the FV and bought something more expensive. In 2011 I bought a 1997 Formula Continental and I converted it to a Formula F with a Honda Fit engine. I documented the build in my blog which can be found at rayphillips.blogspot.com. I installed a comprehensive data system in the car, educated myself on the use of data acquisition by reading books and taking courses, and I even hired a professional data engineer to help me. I learned a lot about the use of data acquisition and it helped me learn more about my driving techniques and vehicle dynamics as well.
As I said before, I knew that my days of racing in real life (at least at the level that I was doing it) were numbered and I sold my Formula F in 2015. But something else was available to satisfy my racing addiction -- SIM racing! I have been a member of iRacing.com since 2008 and to me it has just gotten better and better. Not only are there tons of cars and tracks to choose from but all of the mental aspects of racing exist. You obviously don't experience the G forces to help you feel what the car is doing but your other senses (mostly sight and hearing) can be tuned in to the car's handling and things like force feedback steering wheels and motion cockpits can help. But being a real racer before a SIM racer, I have found that using a simulator is an excellent tool for learning new tracks, experiencing intense races, and most importantly analyzing driving techniques using data acquisition. One example of how I used it was that I taught myself how to left foot brake and shift without using a clutch. I wanted to do this in my Formula F because it is the faster method and having a transmission with straight cut gears (no syncros) allowed me to do it. It didn't matter how much I screwed up in the SIM because it didn't cost me anything extra.
Ok, so that is a lot about me. The reason why I have created Precision Driving Analytics is because I want to continue to be immersed in my passion of racing/high performance driving and help those that share in my passion whether they be real world racers, track day drivers, or even SIM racers. I'm especially interested in helping those that are fairly new to the sport. I believe those are the ones that can benefit the most by what I have to offer. There is no way for someone to know that there is a better way of doing it unless they are shown there is a better way. I frankly could have been a better racer earlier on in my career if I knew all of the stuff that I know now. I hope you can take advantage of what I have to offer.