What is gPace? gPace is the time lost to the fastest theoretical time achievable. In other words a theoretical rally time of the fastest stage times, whoever set them. Further still it could include stage times made of the fastest splits.
I’ve given it a gimmicky name to stop me writing that out every time in charts or text and confusing people when saying the winner of a rally lost two minutes.
Only one person has ever won every stage of a round of the WRC. Known as the GOAT or God, Sebastien Loeb achieved this on Tour de Corse in 2005. Therefore the ‘g’ of gPace is a small tribute to him. Although it could also stand for ‘ghost pace’ as seen in many rally video games.
Why look at gPace?
gPace tells the story of each driver’s performance over a rally. It can be used to see where a driver is pushing to maintain a lead or catch a competitor, or it can highlight where a rally leader is driving sensibly on a Sunday to ensure a finish rather than lose a three minute lead. It can also show the excitement and entertainment value of a rally in one 2D chart.
Why not use the Rally Leader/Winner as a base?
Flat lining the leader doesn’t show how they could have gone even faster and/or driving cautiously. It would show another driver improving but not necessarily the leader dropping pace. It also makes a false claim of an increase in pace on other drivers when a winning driver loses the lead.
How to Read a gPace Chart
For cumulative/overall rally times, a driver’s line reads from left to right under the relevant stage headings. The line can go down as more time gets lost but cannot go back up. So the more horizontal the line from the previous stage is, the faster the driver was going. The steepest drops are often due to Rally 2 times being used or a significant time loss such as a puncture or spin. For full retirements the line will stop at the last completed stage.
In the example above look at the solid blue line at the top. This is a representation of Sebastien Ogier’s performance in Monte 2018. As he lead the rally from start to finish he was able to ease the pace towards the end. The gentle slope shows he could have gone as fast on the final two thirds of the rally but didn’t need to.
However, look at the dashed red line of Craig Breen. The chart shows he was off the pace for much of the rally but not why. Being in last place on the Friday he was first on the road ploughing snow on the Saturday. This separated him form the group.
When making a comparison between drivers it’s important to consider the difference in cars, tyre choice, road and weather conditions and team orders or smart driving. These are just some of the factors that can make or break a rally.