I recently reached out to ApexPro to try/rent their driving coach and wanted to provide my thoughts. Just as a disclaimer, they are not paying me to do this review nor do I have any affiliation with them whatsoever. I just want to improve as a driver any way I can and have seen numerous guys at NASA events that run them. I have used it for a total of 3 track days, all at Gingerman Raceway, and all with the same car setup. I’m going to divide the review into three segmants: hardware, software, on-track - followed by my overall review with suggestions.
What I am mainly using as a comparison is my AIM Solo2 since that is what I use as a lap-timer and data-logger.
Being a mechanical engineer by trade, the first thing that I noticed was the hardware. In pictures it doesn’t look anything special since it’s just a rectangle with lights, but in person it’s actually a pretty impressive piece. The button on the side is very easy to use and just requires a simple click. I did not have a hard time turning it off/on while on grid and wearing my driving gloves. GoPro cameras can learn from this on how difficult they are to function when you’re all strapped up.
By far my favorite feature of the entire package is the quick release mount they use. Maybe other products use this and I’m just out of the loop but I haven’t seen it before. It magnetically sits into the two rods and is very easy to remove and reinstall, while keeping a firm grasp. This is something I wish both my GoPro and Aim Solo 2 used. I freaking love this mount!
The software is where I have the majority of my pros and cons. I’ll start with the good. First and foremost, it is very easy to get setup and ready to go. Once the mount is on the dash or windshield (windshield mount included) then the last step is just opening the ApexPro app and calibrating the device. This only takes a couple of seconds. It recognizes the track automatically and faster than both Harrys, Racechrono, and my AIM Solo do.
You can setup a profile so that you can track your best times with online leaderboards and brag to your friends. This is becoming a popular feature with other laptimers so it’s nice that it’s included.
I grabbed a screenshot from Google to show what the phone recorded data looks like. It gives you an overall score on your session, along with standard laptimer features.
The session review software is VERY easy to use and much more intuitive than others that I have used. It took me a little time to know how to use my AIM Solo software and requires my laptop to come with, or that I look at data post track day. It was nice to be able to see my data right after a session and take that knowledge with me to my next session. I know I can have this if I bring my laptop but I like to bring as little as possible to a track day. I was very impressed by this and believe that they should advertise this part of their product a little more.
Now onto the bag things about the software, and this won’t relate to everyone. The app is iOS only, so no desktop or Android support (for now at least). While this won’t affect everyone, it did affect me. I had to borrow an iPhone from a friend (reason why I grabbed a Google image above) in order to datalog. You can still use the lights on track without datalogging, but it does not record any data without the phone. This is a bummer for me because I am not willing to buy another device that I have to charge/bring with me to a track day, and there is no way I will switch to iOS. They are a fairly new company so I hope Android or desktop support comes down the line, but this was a major pitfall for me.
My first time out with the ApexPro installed I forgot all about it. I am a very audible person and didn’t register the lights at first. As you can see below I have it mounted to the left of my steering wheel where I have an A-pillar blind spot. I have a shift beeper installed and rarely look at my gauges, speedo, tach. I usually rely only on sound, therefore it took some getting used to.
Once I made a more conscious effort I started to notice the benefits. It was pretty cool seeing a visual indicator whenever I would push a brake zone, or when I would carry more speed into a corner, etc. It took a few laps to calibrate itself to my driving but after that it was pretty accurate. It also took a few sessions for me to understand what lights before, during, and after a corner meant and I had to refer to their guide a few times before I got it all. It’s a pretty sophisticated tool and really does help.
Usually I get this feedback from the car or the +/- on my AIM Solo and it was pretty in sync with both of those options. The light colors and brightnesses are customization to your preference. I could definitely see this allowing you to improve as a driver, especially if you want instant feedback. Morning sessions are usually the fastest so having feedback for the later/hotter sessions isn’t very useful sometimes.
I was using a used unit, but the battery did die on me. I had it fully charged before the weekend and it died after four sessions. I would turn it on at grid and off once I turned the car off, so about 100 minutes of driving time. That was a little disappointing since I did not have the means to charge it and had to resort to not using it for the rest of the weekend. For comparison, my AIM Solo2 was at 65% of charge during the same usage period. I usually charge the Solo2 before a track weekend and never touch it again. I also have a hardwired charger in the car for emergencies, so I would have to do the same for the ApexPro.
In conclusion, I would both recommend and not recommend the unit depending on your personal situation. If you do not currently have a dedicated lap-timer and own an iPhone, then I would recommend getting this unit. The price seems steep at first, but it does have value. It will give you tips on how to improve real time, and those tips are accurate. The datalogging feature seems like the best I have seen thus far, and the social aspects make it even more fun.
If you do not have an iPhone or already own an AIM Solo or something similar, then I don’t think the Apex Pro offers enough to justify the cost. Without the datalogging, there isn’t much meat to justify the cost. Then if you own an AIM Solo, like in my case, it does a lot of the same things, but by using two different devices. I like as little things as possible as everything needs to be charged, setup before a session, and monitored. I think their way forward should be having a timing display below the lights and packaging it into one unit. Then I could just replace my AIM Solo, but I am not going to go back to running both a phone and the APEX Pro.
I hope this is helpful and helps on your purchase. If you have any questions, feel free to post or reach out to me.