Does it work? Mercedes-AMG track pace app
► 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 on for the past few years – and the latest iteration of the Track Pace may be the best answer yet.
Designed exclusively for track use – as the name suggests – the new app provides a level of telemetry and analysis previously only available with Racelogic boxes and advanced kits. The idea is to give the driver a clearer and more detailed look at their inputs without any third-party hardware, helping them improve their speed and technique by leaps and bounds. At least that’s the idea. To find out if it actually works, we tried out the Track Pace app in a range of current AMG products, from a spry A45 S to the four-door rocket ship GT63 S.
Different cars, different tastes
Car infotainment is a rapidly changing area, and as Mercedes and other brands seem to stay one step ahead of the competition, they are constantly updating the user interface and systems behind the 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 think.
That means the Track Pace app experience in an EQS, for example, differs from that in an A45 S, for example, so we share the Track Pace ride experience in specific cars.
After opening the Track Pace app via the A-Class’ touchscreen, it’s just a matter of selecting the track you’re on (60 are stored in total), choosing a benchmark and then starting the lap. The only additional device you’ll need is a smartphone, which when mounted on the windscreen is perfect for saving your Mercedes profile – and providing some embarrassing onboard footage.
Get started and you’ll see a constantly updated delta on the screen; with green when you’re up and red when you’re slower, faster. Unfortunately there is no purple – which in F1 will usually inform you that you are the fastest of all.
As the A45 S’s highly sprung inline-four gobbles handle the circuit’s short straight, we occasionally glance at the dashboard, using our times to gauge how well we’re doing – and what we need to do next lap. Before we even dig into the telemetry, the app improves as you drive – 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 quite easy. Choose the type of run you want to do along with the distance, and everything is logged automatically – from reaction times to braking performance. All that remains is to trigger the start of the race (which is conveyed by three green lights on the touch screen).
Read our review of the Mercedes-AMG GT four-door here
As you’d expect, Track Pace takes full advantage of the EQS Hyperscreen setup if you have the option. In addition to sending deltas to the head-up display and displaying split times on the cockpit, EQS also uses the displays and front cameras to generate a ghost car. Pick your best time and EQS will broadcast a live feed of the track on the main infotainment screen – complete with whichever ghost lap you’ve chosen.
It’s the smartest but least useful demonstration of Track Pace for the day. While it’s incredibly smart, we find that AR has a bit of lag, which leaves us feeling a bit motion sick. Also, looking at a screen instead of outside feels deeply unsettling – especially when you’re at decent speeds.
This might work at a longer, less busy track like Silverstone – but it’s quite jarring on the restless Brooklands handling circuit.
Read our review of the Mercedes-AMG EQS here
Following the track
Arguably, the most useful bit of Track Pace comes when the car is stationary – or when you’re out of the car and on your smartphone or tablet. That’s when you can really dig into the telemetry of your driving and figure out how to drive faster.
The Track Pace apps allow you to compare laps, so you can see where you are faster and why. For example, I lost a few tenths under braking earlier in one corner, but the slower entry speed made for a better exit, and I kept coming up plus a drink 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 that requires no additional hardware – other than a smartphone, of course. It will even create a video of your best moments, with data overlaid.
Is the Track Pace app useful? For most AMG owners, probably not. But for those who are going to take the car to track days and other bits, it’s a great thing to have.