After Action Report – COTA

Overview: Very successful weekend, two podiums, and a track record! Gradient Racing is making a big difference, I am able to focus on my learning.

Goals and objectives: My goal for the weekend was to learn, progress, test my fitness, and prove to myself that I am capable of running at the top of the field.

Analysis of outcomes: Really happy to be at my home track, made me feel very relaxed. Armed with the Advanced AIM workshop materials , and the process-based approach to breaking down my goals, from the work with David Murry at Sebring, I was able to work achieve some excellent outcomes. I used my video to come up with areas of improvement, and then used a couple user profiles to quickly analyze my data, and understand what needed to change. This approach coupled with time spent in iRacing allowed me to develop a game plan for setting the track record.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: This weekend consisted of practice sessions, warm-up sessions, and dedicated qualifying sessions, along with two sprint races, and a 60-minute enduro. My tire strategy was to run the scrubs, during practices, and warm-ups, and then in practice session 3 run the stickers, to see where I was compared to the field. The starts were critical in the race, and I wanted to make sure I secured as high of a starting position as possible, this worked in both of the races, more so in race 2 where I got a really great run up the outside. The start in race 1 forced me to the inside, and put me over the turtle in Turn 1 which broke the mounts on my exhaust, where mid-race it fell off completely in Turn 2, it got VERY LOUD.

Sunday morning I felt very confident, and decided to use another set of stickers to try and get on pole for the Enduro, the warm-up session was a bit damp, and cold. In qualifying I felt determined, a 981-based GTB1 car took the 4 year-old record on Friday at 2:22.4. We tried a tire strategy, running with a bit more pressure to have them come in faster, I was able to get close with a 2:23, I then came in to take out a couple pounds, and ultimately was able to achieve a 2:22.1. Based on the data analysis, I knew that I was capable of this accomplishment.

Summary: I was able to accomplish my goals of getting on the podium, and setting the track record. My investment in my fitness level was excellent (thank you Phil Gephart) applying the process that I learned from working with David Murry, and the advanced data analysis techniques, and tools learned from Roger Caddell, really helped me to excel. Based on the learning from Sebring, I am stocking a fully spares kit, including rotors, pads, axle shafts, wheel studs, etc…

Recommendations: During practice, and warm-up we need to do multiple drive through timings to make sure we can execute our pit stops successfully, without penalty. I need to rework my braking technique slightly to help with the ice pedal/lock-up in the heavy braking zones, or potentially investigate a newer brake servo that doesn’t not suffer from this issue.

Continued Progress

As is always the case, I have a lot going on, here is the latest. I was able to get the trackNotes app into enough shape to do a quick pitch and demo, which resulted in some early interest. I am ready to get some more feedback, and will be opening it up for a couple Early Adopters, if you are interested, drop me a note in the comments, and will send you the details.

One of my other projects is based heavily on computer vision, I decided to have some fun with it, and test my skills. I now have all the bits to build a Donkey Car it should be a pretty fun little project where I can learn, set myself up for the next steps of doing more suspension analysis work. I am now doing an extensive amount of model training using distributed inception approach, leveraging multiple GPU’s with a pre-emptible Kubernetes node pool. Good cost/performance, and translates to all of the cloud providers: AWS, Google, and IBM.

I have been working really hard with Phil, and continue to work my way toward my health goals. I have achieved 125Lbs of weight lost since October of 2017. I decided to add OPTIFAST back into my diet as a post workout drink, the high protein works to increase muscle growth, and helps with the recovery from a hard workout.

On the funding front, I am exploring a couple equity free options, there is currently a contest open with Google Cloud, and SAP called Circular Economy which is focused on United Nations sustainable production, and consumption goals. I am working out the broader implications of my current research, and plan to apply. Another equity free option is the SBIR route, which I have discussed briefly before. I have received feedback on my application, and have decided to pursue one of the current open solicitations with the DOT.

Excited for Sebring

Crazy week coming up, have a work event in Las Vegas for two days, will then make my way from there to Sebring. I am really looking forward to working with David Murry, I’ve spent a bunch of time working through his webinar. iRacing, and Virtual Racing School have been invaluable for preparation. My experience with this approach for Road America, was that it helped me get comfortable more quickly, and focus on the detail of getting to consistence lap times. Thus far I have been able to get into the 2:09’s at Sebring, need to get a couple more seconds off aiming for 2:07’s which in the real world will probably be about 10 seconds slower. I hope all the travel goes smoothly, wish me luck!

Practice, Product, and Progress

I’ve been spending time in iRacing learning the line, got both of David Murry’s excellent Sebring, and Car Suspension webinars, as well as reviewing playbacks from the VRS datapacks. I really look forward to working with David directly on the Test/Tune day before the weekend at Sebring. I was also able to spend some very productive time this week out at Harris Hill with Andris of Gradient Racing. More seat time, and getting everybody familiar with the car is always a good thing

David Murry in the BGB #38

Over the holiday, I got a lot of work done on the trackNotes app, it is nearly ready for an alpha release. I am using creator, for the front-end, and firebase for the backend. I put together some wireframes for another app I am developing called setupBoard, that will work either standalone or together with trackNotes. Regarding my work with Kubeflow, it has gone very well, I was able to train against my dataset with multiple models, distributed across three cloud providers: GCP, AWS, and IBM. Inception v3 is the current leader with predictions of 85% accuracy against the ground truth in testing. I am going to test a couple more models: Random Forest, a TF Boosted Tree, and a DNN Classifier. Once I have another round of training, and testing I will start working through AI assisted hyper-parameter tuning to see if I can get the error rate any better. At that point I will switch gears and start working on the front-end.

setupBoard wireframe in creator.ionic.io

On the health front, I was having a hard time finding someone who could help me with both my nutrition, and training. I was referred to Phil Gephart who immediately exceeded my expectations for his knowledge, and professionalism. Phil is awesome! He worked with me to switch around my macros, added some supplements, changed up my training program, I am already seeing some incredible results with a 3% drop in body fat within the first week!

Over the Holidays

I have always loved this time of year, it has given me a chance to focus on the things that I really want to do, interesting projects, time to catch up with friends, and family, play games (or get in some iRacing time, got to get Sebring down), watch movies, and just relax. I am off from work for the next couple weeks, and will be focused on a quite a few things, as usual.

I have built, and deployed three kubernetes clusters on the three different cloud providers that came with my having joined FFL (GCP, AWS, and IBM), I have tested all of my training jobs, and am now ready to do a big run on distributed training using kubeflow, I will be working on a couple different models, Inception v3 to start, and will be working through all the hyperparameter tuning involved with trying to get the best RMSE for what I am doing, hint (it’s motorsports related).

Also, I have a prototype of the trackNotes app, that I released to the Play Store for a closed Alpha, to get some feedback on the UI, I am putting it together with creator.  I am working on the backend data-model in Firebase, which is pretty straightforward, there are some really good materials out there, I really like the codelab, it is ridiculously comprehensive. I am also going to start a wireframe for another app called setupBoard.

On the racing front, I am doing outreach for sponsors, and will need to get all of that loaded into Hubspot so I can keep track of it all. I am also loading in a bunch of leads which, I will see if I can turn into opportunities for everything that I am doing (vaguely described above). Also, I have been talking to Andris over at Gradient Racing to see what support would look like for 2019, we are planning a test day in January.