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Go-Kart Analytics?

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Last year after volunteering our time at Winnipeg Harvest for our staff holiday party, we decided to conclude the celebration with a visit to the local karting track, Speedworld. In fact, we recorded the whole race on a GoPro—you can check out the video a little further into this piece.

Speedworld is an indoor track, which is a good thing because Winnipeg tends to be brutally cold and buried under heaps of snow for half of the year. The track also happens to have the fastest karts in the city, and they work hard to keep them balanced so the best racer—not the best kart—will be the winner. For competitive, obsessive people like me, I can think of no better way to spend an hour after work when its -32°C outside.

Looking back on that day, it never dawned on me how analytics could apply to something like a karting track, but I now know that they certainly can, and do. If the idea intrigues you, I encourage you to read on.

Welcome to Speedworld

For those not familiar with the ins and outs of a karting facility, I should give you a quick primer on what to expect. There’s a quick registration process that takes just a few minutes:

  1. Like any potentially dangerous activity, you first sign a waiver and register yourself as a new member.
  2. You present your drivers license to qualify for the faster ‘Race Karts,’ which can reach 50mph on the track.
  3. Drivers then choose a Racing Name. This can be your real name, but most users choose a pseudonym either for privacy, or for that cool factor.

That’s it. From that point on, you are ‘in the system’ and statistics on your races are recorded. All quantitative data, including race date and time, your lap times, as well as the data of every other competitor in your race is recorded. It’s just like website analytics, only for karting racing.

I Wonder How Fast I Was…

The immediate benefit of this data is that your lap times are displayed in real time during the race for onlookers in the waiting area, and after your race you can see how you stacked up against the competition. For the casual or first time racer, that’s where things end…

But for the regulars, there’s so much more. Your performance in each race affects a cumulative score. In simplest terms, winning makes your score go up and losing makes your score go down, similar to the chess rating system, only with no upper limit. The data also accumulates forever, and unlike typical website analytics, they are publicly available through a website (the race data only of course, not individual’s personal information). It’s a gold mine of data to review every once in a while, or obsess over on a daily basis—if you’re into that of thing.

Traffic Data Inspires New Opportunities

For the business owner, this data can be put to good use in a couple of ways.

1) Making such detailed racing history available online is very enticing to people who like to see how they are doing, and elevates Speedworld from a casual experience to something you can really commit to. Everything from personal histories, daily, weekly and monthly top times, and even a Top 100 leader board are all available.

clubspeed statistics

2) Staff can review the top lap times and post them to social media daily. When you see that someone managed to complete a lap one whole second and a half faster than you, you have further incentive to return as soon as possible to improve your own times.

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3) Staff can also analyze the racer data and use it to determine who the regulars are as well as who the most skilled racers are. I couldn’t say it any better than Speedworld said it here on Facebook.

… as we learn to better use our software, we will be announcing more invitational events! This is the first time in 10 years we have had a good way to get in touch with all our customers (email – we take it when you sign in and don’t send many things). Also it lets us know how fast people are and how experienced they [are]! ~SPEEDWORLD, Facebook page

Sounds Like Qualified Leads To Me…

Seeing as this blog post is quickly turning into a love letter to Speedworld, let’s wrap this one up. Analytics are great for websites. They’re also great for kart tracks as you can see, but the data you collect on your visitors will never benefit you, or anyone for that matter, if you never do anything with it. It’s important to review your analytics data regularly, (HubSpot recommends monthly), set some goals, come up with a plan to achieve those goals and then set that plan in motion.

And don’t forgot you review your analytics afterwards to see if your lap times… I mean your community engagement has improved.

Smallprint: In no way does this post condone or encourage karting without evaluating the inherent risks. We also aren’t saying you should use fossil fuels for recreational activity, run with scissors or wear silly hats in silly-hat-free zone.

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