Investments in technology will aid IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield and stewards during the diverse 18-race schedule this season. Also, a mobile Race Control is likely to debut in 2015, according to IndyCar President of Competition and Operations Derrick Walker.
More cameras around race circuits, additional monitors, upgraded replay equipment and ability to review car data are among the additions.
“When I joined IndyCar after the Indianapolis 500 last year, I had the pleasure of sitting in Race Control for pretty well all of the races thereafter to actually observe how it all happens, see dramas unfolding, how we tackle them,” Walker said. “There were a couple of things that seemed pretty obvious. That was we couldn’t always see what we needed to do for Race Control to be effective. It looked pretty obvious we needed to upgrade our equipment and needed to have more eyes on the job.
“So, for this year we’ve invested a tremendous amount in equipment so we have a lot more views and better-quality views, better replay, trying to capture all the views that are possible. A lot of times Race Control, and I see it in other series, they make decisions based on a few views, but don’t have them all. Sometimes the fan gets better views than we do in Race Control. The simple fact were the limitations on how many screens we’ve got, how many inputs we actually tap into.”
A mobile unit to house the technology and personnel will travel to each North American event. Though Race Control is centrally located at each venue, there are logistical issues.
“We have a lot of equipment. We have to cart it upstairs, everywhere you go,” Walker said. “The space you have isn’t always enough. We’re going to put it in a trailer, give it enough room and stability and have it at all of the races. That’s a big undertaking and huge investment on the part of the IndyCar.
“The Race Control upgrades we’re dealing with now is just the beginning. There is a lot more to come.”