Toyota Racing Development worked with Microsoft to develop and deploy a new application that will aid Toyota’s NASCAR teams. TRD and Microsoft unveiled the new system Saturday at Daytona International Speedway site of Sunday’s Daytona 500.
The touch enabled app was designed to be a mobile computing platform to aid crew chiefs and drivers monitor real time data.
“The Trackside app for Windows 8 on Surface Pro allows Toyota teams to spend more time driving and less time in the garage reviewing performance data,” said Jason Campbell, group product marketing manager at Microsoft. “With a touch-based mobile tablet that can go from portable note taker to a high-performance monitor in less time than it takes to change even one tire.”
Prior to the app, after practices drivers and crew chiefs had to record racing performance data with software on a laptop, or even with pencil and paper. Drivers had to get out of their race cars to view information about the car’s performance, as well as to explain what was happening on the track.
“Trackside running on Surface Pro means more time is spent on the track and less time is spent talking,” said Steve Wickham, TRD’s vice president of chassis operations. “Teams are back on the track faster, allowing them more time to determine the optimum setup for the race car. Our mission is to take advantage of the latest innovation in technology to quickly get better data — which translates into faster cars on the track.”
Several tablets were tested during the pilot phase, but Microsoft’s Surface Pro was chosen. It allows drivers and crew to use the device as a tablet or laptop, and its excellent screen visibility in outdoor lighting is essential when working at the race track.
“Working together with TRD and Microsoft, RAB Racing tested the Windows 8 Trackside app at the end of last season and found it to be an extremely useful tool for our organization,” said Robbie Benton, owner, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard. “This year with a rookie driver Alex Bowman, we need to get him as much time as possible on the race track to make sure we prepare good race cars for him. The Trackside app will help us accomplish both of those goals, and help our race team be better.”