This paper describes the ideas behind the development of a rugged on-board data acquisition system employing removable solid state memory cards, and its use in the development programmes of leading motor racing teams. The flexible built-in signal conditioning facilities are described, together with the software that makes their rapid configuration possible. Details of a continuous coverage radio telemetry system, and an assessment of its operational performance, are included. The approach adopted for displaying both logged and telemetered data, in a rapidly assimilated form, is fully explained. Finally, the increasing use now being made of this ‘racing equipment’ by automotive component manufacturers is described.