Toyota in the US is using Windows 8 on Surface Pro tablets to help increase its track performance in the NASCAR championship that has just begun in Daytona, Florida.
Toyota created its Trackside app for Windows 8 as a way to more efficiently monitor and deliver race performance data to the crew chief, and also allow the driver to input data based on his first-hand experience on the track.
Toyota said that the Trackside app delivers high performance computing on a touch-based tablet.
Darren Jones, group lead for software development at Toyota Racing Development, said the tablet system was essential for race performance. He said: “The driver is wearing a helmet, the crew chief is wearing a headset and everyone is shouting in a wind storm while cars scream by at speeds of more than 175mph.
"If we need to go to the trailer to review data and discuss strategies we lose 15 minutes. In this business races are won by hundredths of a second so every second counts on and off the track.”
The Trackside app allows the driver to pull into the garage, review timing, scoring data and determine where the car is having performance issues on the track with the tap of a finger and hand it to the crew chief, who can share it with the crew in real time to immediately make adjustments to improve the performance of the car.
Jones said the mobility of the app allowed the car to get back on the track more speedily and allowed the team more time to enhance its performance.
Toyota previously had a Windows 7 version of the app called Race Strategy. It was a timing and scoring-based app that Toyota used during practice runs to compare lap times. While the app worked on laptops and stationary monitors, it wasn’t touch-enabled and had to be used with a mouse and keyboard, making it difficult for drivers to access information while sitting in the car.
Toyota therefore needed something more mobile for the track environment. The new Windows 8 tablet system means the driver can easily use it while sitting in the car and then hand to the crew chief without any data getting lost in translation.
To design the Trackside app for Windows 8 Toyota was able to repurpose its original code from the Windows 7 Race Strategy app, re-skinning it with a Windows 8 user interface to deliver mobile touch working. The ability to re-use code saved Toyota significant time in development and testing.