INDIANAPOLIS May 14, 2003 What does a world-class car racing team do to gain a competitive edge at the biggest race of the year? It turns to the latest technology advances from Microsoft Corp. During this year’s Indianapolis 500 qualifying trials and on race day, Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) will streamline communications between its two pit crews using Microsoft® Windows® Messenger running on Tablet PCs powered by Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, and a custom-built application using the new Microsoft Real-Time Communications Server 2003 (RTC Server 2003).
“The key to staying ahead of our competition is all about getting the best performance from our cars,”
said team owner Chip Ganassi.
“And quickly sharing driver feedback and information on car adjustments between our two pit crews is essential to making that happen.”
With the Microsoft solution, TCGR can share that vital information wirelessly in a fast, more-secure way.
“We are thrilled to have Microsoft on board to help us try to repeat our year 2000 Indy win,”
“This initiative is a reflection of all three of our team’s core values: performance, partnership and innovation. Microsoft has been an incredible partner. Its ability to work directly with our drivers and engineers to better understand our business and then to customize innovative cutting-edge solutions for us using .NET helps us gain a competitive advantage on the racetrack.”
Real-Time Communication: Key to a Winning Strategy
In the past, sharing data between two pits was a slow, manual process where messages were either verbally relayed which creates challenges when dealing with the noise at a racetrack or written on paper and physically carried to the other pit. The premium put on speed in the racing world applies to not only the cars on the track, but also the pit operations. Clearly, something had to change. This year, TCGR pit crews are able to quickly write instant messages by hand on a wireless Tablet PC, using Microsoft RTC Server 2003 on the back end to more securely send the messages to the other pit, and automatically store the data for future analysis. The technologies that make this possible are the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system running on Fujitsu Stylistic ST4000 Tablet PCs; Microsoft RTC Server 2003; and Windows Messenger 4.7, which includes electronic ink messaging capabilities when running on a Tablet PC.
Where the Tablet PC really shines is in its overall versatility. The race engineer can easily carry it in the pit and instantly communicate with other team members. It has the full computing power of a traditional notebook PC, so it enables the race engineer to quickly pull up a rich set of information and make intelligent adjustments on the fly. The engineer can manipulate the application very naturally using an electronic pen and can quickly send handwritten notes to the other pit crew members about driver feedback and car-tuning information in Windows Messenger over the wireless network.
Microsoft RTC Server 2003 helps ensure this highly competitive data is secure and easy to archive. TCGR’s pit crews offer a good example of how instant messaging is no longer just a social application, but one that businesses of all sizes can safely take advantage of to make real-time business decisions.
The customized solutions TCGR is using are built using the Microsoft .NET Framework, which means it can easily expand the solution to include more capabilities or incorporate complementary products if needed in the future.
A Model for Other Companies
Microsoft’s close relationship with retailer Target Stores, the Ganassi Indy Racing League team’s major sponsor, helped bring Microsoft and Ganassi together. It is an example of how Microsoft reaches out to many industries, including retail, financial and healthcare, to strategize on competitive solutions for business excellence.
“The creative use of our technologies by the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team is a great example of how companies across all industries can streamline collaboration processes to gain a competitive advantage,”
said Brian Scott, general manager of the Retail & Hospitality Industry Solutions Group at Microsoft.
About Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing has been involved in the world of motorsports since 1990. The storied team history includes four consecutive CART championships from 19961999 with drivers Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi and Juan Montoya. In 2000, Montoya won the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500, and in 2001 the team began competition in the ultracompetitive NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
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