December 17, 2012 11:00 am

Toyota Racing Development Speeds Ahead with Windows 8

It’s been a busy few months for us as we’ve been traveling around the world to showcase the possibilities Windows 8 brings to businesses. We went to Europe, visited cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, and even traveled to Dubai and Japan, to share stories about how companies of all shapes and sizes are using Windows 8 to help improve customer and employee experiences.

Today, I’m excited to share another business story – this time around how the racing industry is using Windows 8 to gain a competitive edge. Toyota Racing Development (TRD), a company that among other things is responsible for supporting Toyota’s North American racing interests, differentiates itself through technology innovation.

Since 2005, TRD has been developing racing software for teams to analyze information to improve performance and win races. To stay ahead of competitors, TRD continually evolves its software based on feedback from teams, and recognized the need for a more mobile computing platform.

“One of the biggest differentiators between TRD and our competition is that we have invested very heavily in Windows software,” said Steve Wickham, VP of Chassis Operations at Toyota Racing Development. “Our teams have such a vested interest in staying one step ahead of the competition, they’ve been asking for ways that we can enhance communications even further and wanted a more mobile computing platform that could be used trackside.”

TRD turned to Windows 8 to solve for their mobility needs, and worked with Microsoft to design a touch-enabled Windows 8 app that serves as the centerpiece of their strategy to improve car performance to ultimately win races.

TRD’s Trackside App
TRD’s Trackside app, running on Windows 8-powered tablets, helps deliver efficient trackside information exchanges at the track and improves the speed and accuracy of communications between the race car driver and racing team crew chief. Instead of fumbling around with a heavy laptop like most teams, drivers with teams such as RAB Racing with Brack Maggard are using TRD’s Trackside app to compare times and performance against the track layout with the tap of a finger, allowing them to immediately see where they have to improve to beat the competition.

In addition to their improved competitive edge, TRD shared a few other unique benefits they’re seeing with the Trackside app:

Maximized Value of Practice Runs
The crew chief uses the Trackside app to input performance data on a Windows 8-powered tablet inside the garage or on the team’s race car carrier/machine shop, also known as a hauler, during practice runs, and passes the tablet to the driver to allow for fast and easy communication on performance. Using the Trackside app to clarify communications among the race team helps everyone quickly make performance adjustments to the car to maximize practice sessions, which ultimately improves the chance of winning.

Expedited Trackside Tuning
During the race, the team uses the app to monitor performance and to spotlight other drivers to compare their times against competitors. The crew chief is then able to quickly relay that information to the driver, which allows teams to speed up trackside tuning and develop winning race strategies on the fly.


Looking Ahead
While TRD has been actively testing the Trackside app during practice runs at races across the country, the app continues to evolve and there will be much more to share in the coming months around how TRD is leveraging Windows 8 to help racing teams gain a competitive edge. In addition to debuting Trackside at Daytona in February 2013, we will also have more to share about TRD’s Windows 8-powered tablet device and Trackside app rollout plan. So please stay tuned for updates on TRD’s story!

As always, I hope you find the customer examples we share here helpful in further understanding the broad range of possibilities Windows 8 offers to businesses. For more information about Windows 8 planning and deployment, please visit the Windows 8 for enterprise site.

As we continue to hear from organizations adopting Windows 8, I look forward to sharing more stories that uniquely demonstrate how Windows 8 can be useful to your business.

Updated November 8, 2014 1:18 am