Back in the olden days, when measuring a vehicle’s performance, we used the seat of our pants — saying that makes me feel really old. Since we didn’t have a chassis dyno or any fancy electronic devices to measure performance, we had to improvise…well, sort of. We would basically make changes to our vehicles with high-performance parts like sticky tires, camshaft, exhaust, and nitrous, to name a few. Then, after the installation, we would hit the streets to see if the vehicle felt any faster. If it did, which was 99-percent of the time because we didn’t want to admit the parts slowed the car down, we were happy. Of course, the method of performance testing was very crude and highly inaccurate.
The problem during this era was that there were only a couple of ways to measure added performance: on an engine dyno or at the track. Unfortunately, our local track shut down for a while to make matters worse, which meant we needed to travel an hour north to test and tune. That was the only option we had at the time. However, this is not the case in this day and age. Even in most small towns, you can find a chassis dyno to wheel your car and see if a new product makes a difference. But now there are other high tech methods that measure performance, like a GPS performance meter.
One of the more popular devices constantly filling our social media feed is the Dragy GPS Performance Meter. And while we know that a lot of you have experience with this product, we have yet to test the unit ourselves, and decided to do just that. For our test, we reached out to a good friend of ours, Luke Thompson, owner of Mike’s Lube Shop and an avid drag racer. For the test, Thompson met us out at Wichita Raceway Park in Wichita Falls, Texas, where the Brawl in the Falls no-prep race was taking place. His notchback Mustang houses a turbocharged engine, Holley Dominator ECU, and a host of other go-fast goodies.
The Dragy is a pretty simple device on the outside. It’s nothing more than a little black box that’s 1-inch wide, 3-inches long, and 1/2-inch tall. The device has a magnet on the bottom and comes with two metal plates with an adhesive that can be mounted on the car’s interior. It also includes a charging cord; however, you will need to provide a power supply. The only other thing required to make this device work is the Dragy App, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for an iOS device or the Google Play Store for an Android. After we loaded the app on the iPhone, charged the Dragy, and updated the software, we were ready to do some testing.
How It Works
The Dragy is easy to use and set up. The unit employs high-speed GPS satellites and then measures your vehicle’s performance within 1/100th of a second. The software will record the pass before storing it on your device. You can also select the parameters you want to test, including 0-30 mph, 0-60 mph, 60-130 mph,1/8-mile, 1/4-mile, and 1/2-mile, to name a few. And if that’s not enough, you can also use the custom mode and add more settings, which we did, like 60-foot time, 330-foot times, or any others you might need.
- Measure acceleration
- Measuring braking time
- G-force measurement
- High score list sorted by manufacturer
- Video drag and drop
- Custom profile including a garage, profile picture, and much more
- Dragy Performance Box
- USB charging cable
- 2x metal plates and 3M adhesive strip
- Instruction manual
- iOS (8.0) or Android (4.4) device required
- Connection type: Bluetooth 4.0
- Supports GPS and GLONASS
- Battery life: up to 10 hours
- Dimensions: 1″ x 3″ x .5″
Since the magnet on the Dragy box seemed to be rather strong, we opted to throw the unit on the roof of Luke’s Mustang rather than on the interior. And while the placement doesn’t seem to matter for performance, we wanted to see if it would hang on during a launch. Plus, the blinking blue LED light on top of the box brought out the Fast and Furious in us –well, the first movie and not the atrocity of the most recent, anyway. We also used a cell phone mount which we bought at Five Below for only $5.00. The mount had a suction cup on the base, which we mounted on the passenger side of the windshield so it wouldn’t be in the driver’s line of sight.
At the Strip
As we hit the staging lanes, we turned on the Dragy and synced it with the app. This process only took a few seconds, and we were ready to go. Luke was racing in the 6.0-index class but had not done any prior testing to ensure the car was on point. So as he checked the tune-up one last time in the Holley ECU–and since Brawl in the Falls was a no-prep race, and he couldn’t go faster than 6.0-seconds for the class –Luke put an A-to-B tune-up in the car. While he was pushing buttons on the laptop we secured the cell phone in the mount and adjusted the view for the video. Once we were next in line for the burnout, we hit record and let the Dragy go to work. We didn’t know if the unit would start data logging as soon as the car moved, which it does. However, after the pass, you can uncheck the items not wanted, and the video overlay will display the selected information.
Luke lit the tires up in the water box on the Mustang and then proceeded to stage the car. Then, as the Christmas tree lit up, he let go of the transbrake and the Dragy went to work. The car went a 6.45 e.t. in the 1/8-mile for the first pass, lifting early. After returning to the pits, the Dragy data displayed a 6.43 in the 1/8-mile at 81 mph. Unfortunately we couldn’t compare all of the data from the Dragy to the timeslip since this was a no-prep race –no slips were being distributed to the racer. However, it was obvious that the Dragy was close, with a difference of only .02-seconds from the boards.
For the second pass, Luke made some changes to the car to try getting closer to the 6.0-second time slip without blowing the tires off. He ramped in power a little quicker, and we were curious to see if the Dragy would respond the same. Luke managed to run a faster e.t. this round, at 6.39-seconds. Again, the Dragy displayed a 6.35, this time at 89.30 mph. And while there was a .04-second difference this go-round, it was still close and showed that the power was ramped in quicker than before with a faster e.t. and better mph.
Back In The Pits
After making a couple of hits with the car, we went back to the pits to explore the app. It’s simple to use and offers a lot of features. You can set up a garage for your different cars, view history, and it even has a leaderboard that will let you know where your times stand all across the world. Our favorite feature is the video overlay that automatically adds data to the pass. This information can easily be trimmed right from your device so you can share it on social media or the leader board.
Overall, we were very impressed with the Dragy. The unit is easy to set up and use, the app is user-friendly, and you can figure everything out in just a minute or two by scrolling around. But most of all, the device is sensitive enough that when you make a horsepower change to the car, it will register, which means we don’t have to trust the seat of our pants anymore. In the future, we will be able to use our Dragy to test parts and see if they are an improvement or not. The only problem is figuring out how to get our project off the jackstands to test. But that’s a different story for another day.
We wanted to thank Luke for letting us get in his way at Brawl in the Falls and crawl all over his Mustang. Also wanted to thank NXGonzo, Chris Raska of Wichita Raceway Park, and Matt Plotkin for putting on a great event.