TRD, Microsoft partner in NASCAR

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Lee Spencer

Lee Spencer is the Senior NASCAR Writer for She has provided award-winning coverage of auto racing over the last 15 years. Spencer has lent her expertise to both television and radio and is a regular contributor to SiriusXM Radio and the Performance Racing Network. Follow her on Twitter.



Toyota Racing Development has partnered with Microsoft to revolutionize the transfer of data between drivers and crews to make practice and testing more efficient.


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Through a “Trackside” touch-enabled app for Windows 8, drivers have a platform to deliver real-time information from the cockpit to crew chief and engineers to dial in the cars faster.

“For Toyota teams to finish first on the track, we must also be the first to innovate our technologies behind the scenes,” said Darren Jones, group lead for software development at TRD (Toyota Racing Development).”We chose Windows 8 because we get enterprise-ready security and management, the familiarity of the Windows development and a fully capable touch-enabled interface.”

The Trackside app will also allow teams to keep the information proprietary without the driver describing his or her car’s condition over the radio where other teams can eavesdrop. On the flip side, other Toyota teams can use the information for comparison to see what areas the driver might be able to improve. Microsoft enlisted Bing to provide maps of each of the tracks so drivers can precisely pinpoint areas on the course where specific handling conditions can be corrected.

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Teams are already finding the Trackside app to be an invaluable tool. RAB Racing worked with TRD to develop the program last year. Chris Rice, crew chief for RAB Racing, said it’s enabled his team to “make the most” of its practice time. Before the app was added to Rice’s tablet, the team was limited to approximately 12 runs an hour. Now the team has increased its productivity by 40 percent.

“NASCAR only gives us an hour and 30 minutes of practice and this speeds up the process,” Rice said. “It helps me to be back on the track faster.”

TRD is currently Beta testing the app in the Camping World Truck and Nationwide series. They hope to get the bugs out of the program before introducing it in the Sprint Cup Series.

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