TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and Microsoft have teamed up to develop software that could provide the Toyota NASCAR teams a potential unfair advantage in races. The software (or app for those who enjoy using content from software stores) is called Trackside and will see tablet hardware deployed to crews, as well as in the cockpit.
So what does the Trackside app and a Microsoft Surface Pro enable the team to achieve? We're talking about capturing performance data in an efficient way, through the touch-based interface, which sports the ability to share the collected data with other hardware (in the hands of the crew) in real time.
As an example, this would allow mechanics to immediately work on fine-tuning the car for enhanced performance by analysing data accumulated and sent through the app.
The app will also provide data on competitor timing and score data, enabling the team to determine whether or not the right adjustments have been applied to the car and / or driver. It's fairly advanced stuff, almost turning real-life racing into the next installation of Forza for the Xbox. TRD's vice president of chassis operations had the following to comment on the development:
"Trackside means more time is spent on the track and less time is spent talking. 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."
It's good to see Microsoft entering into partnerships for Windows 8, though we would like to see the company also carry out more developments like this with Windows Phone. Would this provide an unfair advantage to teams who would deploy such technology? Possibly, but that has yet to be seen and decided by the association. Then again, the technology could spread like wildfire and other race teams will jump on board.
Source: Racecar Engineering; thanks, Richard, for the heads up!