Congratulations to all of the participants and especially the winners at this year’s 55th Anniversary Rolex 24. It was great to see so many of you.
As it turns out, the last minute fix for the safety car wasn’t required as T&S changed their procedure from Friday’s CTSC race and we got the competitors before the safety car, so v3.0.5 would have worked fine, but v3.0.6 did not introduce any new bugs so there was no harm in the upgrade, just a long night and a little more stress. It’s never boring.
I have a couple of bugs to fix and enhancements to finish for the next release. If you have any comments, suggestions and bug reports from this last week, please send them to me.
I don’t like to release new software during an event, and more so the morning of a race, but here is what I discovered during the CTSC race yesterday.
1. Based on some procedural changes in how Timing and Scoring is done, the datafeed exposed a flaw in RaceTools v3.x that can filter out the safety cars, even under yellow. This can be resolved by going back to v2.114 (http://racetools.com/racetools/imsa_tsmodule_2016.zip) or updating to v3.0.6 (http://racetools.com/racetools/imsa_tsmodule.zip). This is not a critical update, but recommended as it may affect the track map’s ability to display the position of the safety car during caution periods, and more importantly the running order display might not place the safety car at the top of the field. Depending on the order of the cars being sent in the data feed at the start of the session, the safety car could be filtered at all times, even under caution with v3.0.5.
2. During the race, all of the cars stopped moving around the track. I tried all of the usual tricks to get the cars moving again, including the unstick cars and even the more severe step of clearing the data (starting a new session) without success. I spent 30 minutes trying to track down the problem with my software. Then, miraculously the cars started moving on the track map again. I found out after the race that there was a problem with the data feed for around 13 minutes which incorrectly assigned transponder numbers instead of car numbers to line crossings so during that time, all of the line crossing messages could not be applied to the cars in the race. The replay file on results.imsa.com had to be fixed manually (replacing the transponder numbers with the correct car number) before being made available. Thanks to David Pees for that extra work to make the data available in the correct format.
If you use the Running Order popup (and I think you should during the race), make sure you are running either v2.114 or v3.0.6. v3.0.5 may or may not correctly display the position of the safety car. It all depended on when the safety car’s $A/COMP message is seen relative to other cars in the field.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is upon us and RaceTools has been updated in preparation for the 2017 season opener of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
With the change in T&S suppliers and the associated change in the data feed, it is recommended that your run v3.0.4 or above of the RaceTools software. If you prefer to stick with the version from last season, v2.114 is still available with the same features, reliability and issues as we ended the last season with.
The differences between the new version 3.0.4 and last season’s v2.114 include:
1. Improved support of the new eRMON data feed, specifically with line crossings.
2. Pit Stop Window popup now available as an independent window, or you can continue to dock it to the main program window.
3. Bug fixes, including performance optimization of the Pit Stop Window, especially when cars are in pit lane.
4. Replay Remote which allows you to quickly jump to any point in the session in memory. For more information see the Replay Remote article.
I will be in Daytona January 26th through 30th to meet with any teams requiring assistance in using the software. Please contact me to make an appointment if possible, or email/call/text me and I’ll try my best to accommodate your schedule.
The ability to replay a session in RaceTools has been part of the software since the very first version. It was a good tool for me to use to develop and debug the software and a great tool for teams to analyze data from previous sessions, events or even years. Using replay files rather than CSVs or other event data files, you could ‘relive’ a session in real time or even faster than real time, to truly understand not just the data, but the context of the data as a session evolved. This is a useful tool and teams use it to prepare for upcoming events, practice using RaceTools and do post session analysis with a clean dataset. With the custom playback speed, you can quickly fast forward to a point in the session you wanted to review. With the Play Until feature you can let the replay run while you did something else and have it stop at a designed point, whether it was a Time Of Day, Elapsed Time, Lap Number or Flag Change. These are great tools, but we wanted more.
What was wanted and missing was the ability to go backwards, to quickly jump to a point in time, whether forwards or backwards to review a section of the session. With RaceTools v3, work has begun on the Replay Remote feature. Currently in beta, this interface will allow you to pause, rewind or jump ahead to any point in time that the software has in memory. You can load the session into memory using the traditional replay feature, or load a previously saved session using the Load Session feature. Once a session is in memory, you can use the slider to go to a point in time and then hit the play button to play back the session either forwards or backwards. Jumping to point in time takes less than a second, so you can quickly find the point in the session you are looking for. You can use the Jump To button to go to a specific elapsed time.
Note that the Replay Remote is still a beta feature so please use it with caution. The previous Relay option still exists and is useful even with the new Replay Remote feature as a way to get data into the system. You can only use Replay Remote on session data in memory, so you may need to replay a session into memory first before you can take advantage of the new features.
With the new season, a lot of teams are reinstalling RaceTools and upgrading to Windows 10. This has caused some users to get file access errors when running RaceTools from the ‘Program Files’ or ‘Program Files (x86)’ folder as Window’s UAC restricts access the the program folder. The recommended place to store user data files is the AppData folder.
With RaceTools v3.0.3, we now support both the old style running and saving settings in the program folder or the new style separating the program and data files into the Program Files and AppData folders. If you are running RaceTools from a folder not within the Program Files or Program Files (x86) folder, then RaceTools will continue to read and save the data and configuration files in the same folder as the application. This makes it easy to run multiple versions with it’s own configuration or copy the configuration from one system to another. I usually run RaceTools from a folder in the Documents folder.
If you choose to run RaceTools from the Program Files folder, then RaceTools will read and save the configuration and data files from and to the AppData folder. This should eliminate the file access errors that Windows generates for trying to save to the Program Files folder.
This does mean that if you are running RaceTools from the Program Files folder, you may need to reconfigure some of the settings that did not get migrated to the AppData folder. You should only have to do this once.
For 2017, Pirelli World Challenge is using a new timing and scoring provider. This means that the datafeed from previous years is no longer available. At this time we are forced to suspend development of the PWC version of RaceTools until we have access to the new datafeed. We apologize for the inconvenience as we worked all last season to create a version of RaceTools that you could use with the PWC series. If you are interested in running RaceTools in the PWC series, please send us a note and/or let the officials at PWC know. We hope to have something developed during this season for release in 2018.
With a new calendar year comes new promises and new hope. It also comes along with expired software and new updates. If you have not updated your copy of RaceTools since September, you will need to download a new version to use it in 2017. All pre-v2.113 RaceTools software expired on December 31, 2016. You have to run v2.113 or above for 2017.
If you have not received your 2017 software license, please contact me and I’ll get you sorted out.
I will not be at the Roar but I will be at the Rolex 24 at Daytona from January 26-29, 2017.