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      09-05-2020, 05:03 AM   #1
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Garmin Catalyst - anyone tried it?

Garmin states some pretty revolutionary claims, will it work as promised?

Not only will it show on the screen where on the lap you have the possibility to improve, and how. It will actually talk to you out on the track and tell you where and how to do it. Bold claims! To be honest this initially sounded like it would work equally as well as your five year old car's speech recognition or systems for automated translation or other not so perfect modern stuff. But then Ross "Speed Secrets" Bentley wrote about the Catalyst, not only saying general positive things about it, but telling about a test he did where HE cut 0,9 seconds of HIS laptime following the advice the Catalyst said in the car! So.... it might be a real thing?

I'll get a loaner for a review in a few weeks but I'm very curious if anyone has seen or tested it?
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      09-05-2020, 07:56 AM   #2
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      09-05-2020, 09:08 AM   #3
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Info:

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/690726
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      09-05-2020, 09:11 AM   #4
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From Ross Bentley's emaillist


Quote:
I think you know that I don't like to waste your time by sending you emails about things that you can't use. I hate spammy emails more than anyone! So, I only send messages when I have something important to share with you. Today, is one of those times.

Over the past couple of years, I've been consulting with Garmin (yes, the watch, avionics, marine, GPS, etc. company) on a product for motorsport, and it's just been announced. To say I'm excited about it is an understatement!

It's called the Garmin Catalyst, and it's kinda creating a new category within what might be considered the data/telemetry world. They define it as a driving performance optimizer. To me, it's like what snowboarding was to skiing. Sure, both sports involved sliding down a snow-covered mountain, but they're different. And sure, the Garmin Catalyst uses data, but it's focused on helping you be a better driver and really optimize your time on the track.
Image
Quick story: Not quite a year ago, I spent two full days driving at Heartland Park, focused on providing feedback on the usability of the Catalyst. For me, it was a blast! Two days of having a car and track to myself, and all I had to do was drive consistently at the limit and give feedback on how the Catalyst product worked for me. After all that track time, to say that I was comfortable driving at the limit was an understatement - I knew the car and track well. Towards the very end of the second day, I set out with one objective: to listen to the Catalyst - to have it coach me on what to do to be an even better driver. It told me to focus on three things (Opportunity 1, 2 & 3), and I did. After just half a dozen laps, I had knocked 0.9 seconds off my very best lap time! I was shocked. I thought I was already driving the car at its limit, and yet the Catalyst found almost a full second for me.

As author James Clear says, "When feedback is immediate, clear, and concrete, people learn quickly. When feedback is delayed, abstract, and opaque, people rarely learn." That's the problem with most data systems - you don't get the feedback until you're back in the paddock, where you can't do much about it (then you have to pull out the laptop, and interpret a bunch of squiggly lines on a screen). With the Garmin Catalyst, feedback is immediate, real-time, when you can do something about it.

I'm a huge proponent of using data to help improve one's driving, but I've always felt that these data systems were designed by engineers, for engineers, and us drivers had to adapt them to help us improve our driving. The Garmin Catalyst is designed first by drivers, for drivers. It's a driver's tool. It's like having a driver coach, like me, with you at all times - in the car, and between on-track sessions.

No, don't worry, I'm not changing careers and becoming a salesperson for Garmin! But, having been involved in the development of the Catalyst, I'm proud of what it does. It's going to revolutionize our track-driving world.

Check it out by clicking here.

Keep learning and having fun!

Ross
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      09-05-2020, 09:12 AM   #5
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Bold claims from Garmin themselves but who knows?
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      09-05-2020, 11:26 AM   #6
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Looks very interesting. I haven't seen a way to layer OBD data, tho.

BTW, what kind of car is that guy sitting in? https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/690726

Also, watch some of support vids here. This thing looks pretty sweet! https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?pr...726&tab=topics

Even tho I drive solo, I always prefer someone in the car giving me continuous feedback, and data to review afterward. To get really good feedback this usually requires a full rig of gear and someone who is actually a really good teacher (not just an “instructor”).

Considering COVID restrictions and the simplicity of a device like this, it seems well worth a trial!

Now, who has the best deal on one?

Last edited by ZM2; 09-05-2020 at 11:59 AM..
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      09-05-2020, 12:05 PM   #7
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Ross’s email had me intrigued. Went and looked at all the info Garmin has published, including a series of YouTube videos about various features. I’m very interested to see some real world feedback on it.

Getting a live coach in the car next year is seeming less likely, so maybe this could be the next best thing.

MagnusT and anyone else that gets early access, please do share a review. I’m on the fence and will probably order over the winter when my track budget isn’t being consumed by track fees, tires and brakes.
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      09-05-2020, 12:09 PM   #8
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I'd be much more impressed if they integrated car telemetry into it via canbus. I don't see this replacing my aim solo 2 dl.
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      09-05-2020, 12:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by detroitm2 View Post
I'd be much more impressed if they integrated car telemetry into it via canbus. I don't see this replacing my aim solo 2 dl.
Both Bentley and Krause, who has written about it too, are very clear, this is a complement to AIM.

There is no OBD2 or CAN integration in the Catalyst
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      09-05-2020, 12:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagnusT View Post
Both Bentley and Krause, who has written about it too, are very clear, this is a complement to AIM.

There is no OBD2 or CAN integration in the Catalyst
To MagnusT ís point, hereís a response to a similar question from Krause. A friend of mine found this and shared it. Iím not sure where from.
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      09-05-2020, 12:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by detroitm2 View Post
I'd be much more impressed if they integrated car telemetry into it via canbus. I don't see this replacing my aim solo 2 dl.
If I had a solo 2 and smarty cam setup in the M2 like we do in the race cars and multiple drivers in a weekend to compare throttle, braking, etc, I’d agree. And I certainly wouldn’t replace a current AiM setup with this.

But, for a DE weekend in my street car, it’s hard to beat the pure simplicity in this. The optimal vs other lap video and segment comparison features of the Garmin are way easier to work with (and better in certain ways), especially since you don’t have to futz with the laptop.

Could I get an additional 0.1s with the solo 2 & smarty cam with OBD? Yeah probably. But I’ll spend a lot less time getting to 99% my fastest possible time with the Garmin, especially on a more casual DE weekend vs a race weekend.
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      09-05-2020, 01:22 PM   #12
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My wife had a Solo2 DL installed in her Cayman over the winter. So far, it has served as a really expensive lap timer. I think I get more out of Harryís at this point. She just started trying to dive into the data using track attack a few weeks ago. I looked over her shoulder and the squiggly lines, days later it seems like more than I have the patience to decipher. Thereís a steep learning curve, and a certain personality type to fully benefit from raw telemetry.

I resemble the person Krause is talking about in the quote I posted above. The Garmin appears to operate at my level, and more importantly, in the moment, so I can take advantage of the information it provides.

I think being able to experiment with several lines through a particular section on successive laps in a session, then spot what worked without having to pit, plug in to a laptop, compare, then go back out and try to remember what you wanted to change, will accelerate progress and learning by quite a bit.

Or at least thatís what I hope. Iím doing a good job of convincing my self to buy one.
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      09-05-2020, 02:29 PM   #13
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Making me rethink my Apex Pro, although the new video sync with Apex is sweet!
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      09-09-2020, 05:43 PM   #14
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I've been using a Aim Solo DL 2 with an original Smarty Cam for several years now.

I agree 100% with ZM2 that the Garmin product for almost everyone on these boards is a great new performance toy.

Its $1700 for the DL & SM together.

This is $1000.

The AIM unit has tooooo much info but very useful for drivers looking to find that last little bit of time. Otherwise this Garmin unit looks like a great tool.

I'm going to sell my SOLO DL 2 and pick one of these up. My Smarty Cam crapped out 2 yrs ago. Can't wait to see how it does Oct 9-10 when I'm up at Tamworth...
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      09-09-2020, 05:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAT TIME RULES View Post
I've been using a Aim Solo DL 2 with an original Smarty Cam for several years now.

I agree 100% with ZM2 that the Garmin product for almost everyone on these boards is a great new performance toy.

Its $1700 for the DL & SM together.

This is $1000.

The AIM unit has tooooo much info but very useful for drivers looking to find that last little bit of time. Otherwise this Garmin unit looks like a great tool.

I'm going to sell my SOLO DL 2 and pick one of these up. My Smarty Cam crapped out 2 yrs ago. Can't wait to see how it does Oct 9-10 when I'm up at Tamworth...
Definitely want to hear feedback from a seasoned track driver!
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      09-09-2020, 05:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAT TIME RULES View Post
I've been using a Aim Solo DL 2 with an original Smarty Cam for several years now.

I agree 100% with ZM2 that the Garmin product for almost everyone on these boards is a great new performance toy.

Its $1700 for the DL & SM together.

This is $1000.

The AIM unit has tooooo much info but very useful for drivers looking to find that last little bit of time. Otherwise this Garmin unit looks like a great tool.

I'm going to sell my SOLO DL 2 and pick one of these up. My Smarty Cam crapped out 2 yrs ago. Can't wait to see how it does Oct 9-10 when I'm up at Tamworth...
While SOLO DL+Gopro is right around 1000 bucks and provide way better video stabilization and comprehensive data analysis.

But LMK if you're really selling the SOLO DL2
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Last edited by Fabb; 09-09-2020 at 06:00 PM..
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      09-09-2020, 06:01 PM   #17
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I'm getting the review unit tomorrow. Looking at the calendar for next day at the track!
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      09-09-2020, 06:13 PM   #18
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Keep us posted MAGNUS T!!!
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      09-09-2020, 06:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabb View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAT TIME RULES View Post
I've been using a Aim Solo DL 2 with an original Smarty Cam for several years now.

I agree 100% with ZM2 that the Garmin product for almost everyone on these boards is a great new performance toy.

Its $1700 for the DL & SM together.

This is $1000.

The AIM unit has tooooo much info but very useful for drivers looking to find that last little bit of time. Otherwise this Garmin unit looks like a great tool.

I'm going to sell my SOLO DL 2 and pick one of these up. My Smarty Cam crapped out 2 yrs ago. Can't wait to see how it does Oct 9-10 when I'm up at Tamworth...
While SOLO DL+Gopro is right around 1000 bucks and provide way better video stabilization and comprehensive data analysis.

But LMK if you're really selling the SOLO DL2
Yeah, I run the solo 2 dl with gopro. The smartcam is trash IMO. for the price, you get 720p video and 30fps with basically no stabilization.

You can get a cheapo hero 5 and do better in the video.

The only advantage to using the Smartycam is the seamless integration of overlays. No need to do it in racerender after the fact.

That being said, the aim software itself is utter trash.

I see the Garmin catalyst and a good tool for those who do not already have an aim setup. It's definately easier to use. But as I mentioned before, I don't see this replacing my solo unit.
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      09-10-2020, 02:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by detroitm2 View Post
....But as I mentioned before, I don't see this replacing my solo unit.
I think that will be the common view


But for someone with no logging at all currently, starting from scratch, a Catalyst only will probably go pretty far
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      09-10-2020, 06:23 AM   #21
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This does look interesting. A few thoughts. First, can it plug into my wired Stilo helmet....Bluetooth is of no value while on track. Next, I would like to try it in our Champ car with our fastest driver first....will it then coach the next several drivers to match his laps? This also brings up the helmet plug while also being plugged into my radio...splitter? I currently use the built in MLaptimer for data and it is amazing and free....really helps improve lap times, so not sure how much better this is but will keep an open mind. If Ross likes it it must be good.
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      09-10-2020, 12:52 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twt View Post
This does look interesting. A few thoughts. First, can it plug into my wired Stilo helmet....Bluetooth is of no value while on track. Next, I would like to try it in our Champ car with our fastest driver first....will it then coach the next several drivers to match his laps? This also brings up the helmet plug while also being plugged into my radio...splitter? I currently use the built in MLaptimer for data and it is amazing and free....really helps improve lap times, so not sure how much better this is but will keep an open mind. If Ross likes it it must be good.
Look for a Bluetooth receiver to connect the helmet
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