Improve your circuit racing speeds with iLapTimer 2 app from Hong Kong’s 18000RPM

Start-up founder hails smartphone app as ‘much easier, cheaper and more convenient’ than renting lap timers at tracks, which require use of a laptop

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2016, 6:56pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2016, 6:59pm

Amateur racers in China can now better track their driving statistics with the aid of computer analytics and the cloud thanks to an app by Hong Kong-based start-up 18000RPM, as the car racing scene in China continues to grow.

Dubbed the iLapTimer 2, the app allows drivers to record the time it takes for them to go around a race track by utilising GPS and motion technology in smartphones.

When the driver selects one of the in-built track selections on iLapTimer 2, it will automatically start recording the driving time and tracking a car’s route when the vehicle crosses the starting line.

“The iLapTimer 2 app can track lap time with an accuracy of within 0.1 seconds, which is good enough for amateur racing,” said 18000RPM founder and CEO Thomas Chan, who races cars semi-professionally.

The data collected from the app is then logged and sent to the cloud, and users can compare their driving statistics with those of other drivers on the app’s leaderboard in real-time.

Other features include the driver’s top speed and an ideal time that they can aspire to based on their skills.

Chan said the iLapTimer 2 is a more cost-effective and convenient way for racers to view their driving data. Renting professional lap timers at race tracks can cost about US$25 per day, he added. Drivers who use these also have to find a laptop to plug them into after the race to view their data.

“Smartphones are so powerful now and are able track motion and GPS. With the iLapTimer 2 app, we can look at all the data on the phone itself and do an analysis without connecting anything to a laptop,” he said.

“It’s much easier, cheaper and more convenient.”

iLapTimer 2 is currently free to download on the iOS app store, but Chan said it will eventually move towards a freemium model where users can pay for more advanced features that can help them to improve their driving. The company’s original app was called the iLapTimer and cost US$14.99.

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Some 60 per cent of the app’s 2,000-plus users come from China, as more drivers take to amateur racing, the company said. China is Chan’s primary focus right now, he said.

“Now, over 100 people in China receive race licenses every three months,” said Chan, attributing the growing interest to China’s rising wealth.

Those who hope to race in the country must first attend a costly three-day practical course before they can obtain a racing licence valid for Chinese tracks. Course fees cost upwards of 6,000 yuan (US$921), according to information listed on the websites of several Chinese racing schools.

The new app features simulated racetracks from around the world. Chan said iLapTimer 2 is currently the only app on the market that incorporates all of China’s racing tracks, including those hosting the Macau Grand Prix and Shanghai’s Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The company plans to release an on-board diagnostics device in July that works with the iLapTimer 2, Chan said. The device can be plugged into a car and record the number of revolutions per minute made by its wheels as well as the temperature and overall vehicle health, among other data.

Called the iLapOBD, it will retail for around US$250 and transmit real-time information to the iLapTimer 2 app, the company said.

While on-board diagnostics devices are not new to the market, Chan said they are typically used by car insurance and car servicing companies to monitor vehicles. In contrast, iLapOBD is tailored for racers.

“We have added a high-speed motion tracker and GPS tracker so that it is even more accurate for racing,” Chan said.