► Mercedes Track Pace app tested
► In GT Four Door, A45 S and EQS
► Is it worth having?
Having a car with north of 500bhp, all-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering is great – but when do you ever get to unlock that performance? That’s the question and challenge Mercedes-AMG has been working at for the last few years now – and the latest iteration of its Track Pace may be its best answer yet.
Designed purely for track use – as the name suggests – the new app brings a level of telemetry and analysis previously only available with Racelogic boxes and higher-end kit. The idea is to give the driver a clearer, more detailed look at their inputs without any third-party hardware, helping them improve their speed and technique in leaps and bounds. That’s the idea anyway. To find out if it actually works, we tried out the Track Pace app in a range of current AMG products, from a fizzy A45 S to the four-door rocket ship GT63 S.
Different cars, different flavours
Car infotainment is a rapidly changing space, and as Mercedes and other brands look to stay one step ahead of their competitors, they constantly update the UI and systems behind those ever-growing touchscreens. Throw in the different levels of infotainment depending on the model, and the AMG range’s infotainment offerings vary more than you’d think.
That means that the Track Pace app experience in an EQS, for instance, differs from the one in an A45 S for example, so we’ll split tour experience of Track Pace into specific cars.
After opening the Track Pace app via the A-Class’ touchscreen, engaging it is simply a matter of choosing the track you’re on (60 are stored in total), picking a reference and then starting your lap. The only extra device you need is a smartphone, which when mounted on the windscreen is perfect for saving your Mercedes profile – and providing some embarrassing onboard footage.
Get going and you’ll see a constantly updated delta on the screen; with green when you’re up and red when you’re slower faster. Sadly, there’s no purple – which in F1 would usually inform you you’re fastest of all.
As the A45 S’ highly strung inline-four gobbles handling circuit’s short straights we occasionally glance at the dash, using our times to gauge just how well we’re doing – and what we need to do in our next lap. Before we even dig into the telemetry, the app is improving out driving – having the deltas alone makes a big difference
Read our review of the Mercedes-AMG A45 S here
GT Four door
We try the Drag Racing mode in the AMG GT Four door and it’s again pretty simple. Select the type of race you want to do along with the distance, and everything is logged automatically – from your reaction times to your braking performance. All that’s left is to trigger the race start (which is conveyed with three green lights on the touchscreen).
Read our review of the Mercedes-AMG GT Four door here
As you’d expect, Track Pace takes full advantage of the EQS Hyperscreen set up if you have it option’d. In addition to beaming deltas onto the head-up display and displaying split times on the cockpit, the EQS also uses its screens and front-facing cameras to generate a ghost car. Pick your best time, and the EQS will beam a live-feed of the track on its main infotainment screen – complete with whatever ghost lap you’ve chosen.
It’s the cleverest but least useful demonstration of Track Pace of the day. Although incredibly clever, we find the AR has a bit of lag, which makes us feel a bit travel sick. What’s more, looking at a screen instead of outside feels deeply disturbing – especially when carrying decent speeds.
This could work on a longer, less busy track like Silverstone – but it’s pretty jarring on the restless Brooklands handling circuit.
Read our review of the Mercedes-AMG EQS here
After the track
The most useful bit of Track Pace arguably comes when the car is stationary – or when you’re out of the car and on your smartphone or tablet. It’s then that you can really delve into the telemetry of your driving and work out how to go faster.
The Track Pace apps allows you to compare laps, so you can see where you’re faster and why. For example, braking earlier in one corner lost me a few tenths, but the slower entry speed made for a better exit, and I made all the time up plus a dollop extra on the following straight.
If you really want to get the most out of your Affalterbach machinery, Track Pace is an accessible, intuitive way to do it. Recording and displaying all the data you need to improve your driving, it does a lot for an app which requires no extra hardware – other than a smartphone, of course. It’ll even make a video of your best moments, with data overlaid on the top.
Is the Track Pace app useful? For most AMG-owners, probably not. But for those who will take their car on track days and other bits, it’s a great thing to have.