@CTG: You're smart enough to sketch a dimensional analysis for the problem of automatically generating a decent replay yourself. Not sure why you keep bringing this up :| And sections times would indeed be an interesting stat to extract from replays, we could make all sorts of crazy graphs!
The replay functions haven't been documented yet, but I don't think there should be any problems* creating a separate executable that loads a replay, iterates through the buffer and dumps the final game state without the need to invoke any display code. [...] *) No problems besides lack of time.
This, included the footnote, is what I was thinking. Run the game "engine" and print a list of tiles and times when a tile is reached —that's what you need for most statistics, including section times.
While I'm not terribly excited about any dreams of automated replay generation (see CTG's post), I would be very happy with after-the-fact analysis tools. The crucial one, I guess, would be a logger which recorded the car position at every instant over a lap. (Dstien and co.: how hard would be doing that today given what we already know? I believe we already have located where the coordinates are stored in the ASM, but I am too clueless about debuggers and other low-level stuff to know how far along the way that takes us.)
Two other things related to this come to my mind: dosbox has an integrated debugger —can it watch memory locations? and also, if we know where tile coords are kept in memory, we could just write a small tsr to dump them to a text file.