IMSA-style system built with off-the-shelf parts brings pro technology and excitement to amateur racing
San Rafael, CA: The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance will be easier to follow this weekend with live timing app RaceHero and the introduction of a low-cost leader light system. Unlike proprietary, expensive systems that display a car’s running position using LED lights as seen in the TUDOR Sports Car Series and 24 Hours of Spa, the RaceHero light system is built with off-the-shelf parts and updates continuously around the 3-mile Northern California circuit using an inexpensive mobile phone connection.
The longest North American sports car race is also the darkest with more than 12 hours of nighttime driving. Participants and fans have a difficult time following the storylines and positions of the cars as they circulate in mixed-class racing for more than 600 laps. The RaceHero app keeps everyone – teams, officials and spectators – up to date by delivering real-time race data to smartphones, tablets and computers.
“The amateurs at Thunderhill battle just as fiercely as the pros at Daytona and we’ve designed RaceHero to capture and tell those stories with our advanced timing and scoring integration,” said founder Brian Ghidinelli. “With live timing, race results, entry lists and schedules in one mobile app, it’s the only thing you need during a race weekend to follow the action.”
The leader lights connect the racers in the app to the cars on track creating an exciting second screen experience for motorsport events. The system uses low-cost Arduino computers connected via Bluetooth to an in-car smartphone app that retrieves position data for each car from the RaceHero servers. The total system cost is $75 and was developed in the four weeks prior to the race as a technology showcase.
“I have so much love for professional racing and what their resources let them add to the experience,” said Ghidinelli, “but our leader light demo shows what is possible using smartphones and consumer-grade technology to make racing – at any level – more appealing to both the current and next generation of motorsport enthusiasts.”
The in-car smartphone app is not limited to displaying position on the LED board. It can also provide the racer with tactical and strategic data including lap times, gaps to racers ahead and behind, flag status and official race clock.
NASA co-founder Jerry Kunzman said, “The 25 Hours of Thunderhill has become a premier event attended by drivers and teams from as far away as New Zealand, Europe and Japan. The RaceHero app makes it fun to follow the action and the leader lights will add additional excitement to our TV coverage scheduled to air early 2015.”
The teams running the demonstration leader lights are:
- ES – #6 Stammer Inc / Bavarian Performance BMW M3
- E0 – #31 Hankook Tires / El Diablo Motorsports BMW M3
- E0 – #82 BimmerWorld / Red Line Oil BMW 330i
The 25 Hours of Thunderhill begins Friday, December 5th at 4:45pm Pacific time with a one-hour combined practice/qualifying session. The 25-hour race begins Saturday, December 6th at 11:00am.
Entry lists, schedule, live timing and results will be available on RaceHero at https://racehero.io/orgs/nasa-norcal.
About RaceHero: RaceHero brings everything about race day to your pocket in a fun, social way. By looking beyond simple finishing position, RaceHero highlights big passes, personal bests and epic battles. Access entry lists, schedules, live timing and results from smartphones, tablets and laptops all driven automatically from the existing timing and scoring system. RaceHero is free to event organizers, promoters and racetracks and is available today at https://racehero.io.
About NASA: The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) was formed in 1991 with the premise of delivering high-quality motorsports events to enthusiasts at major racing venues throughout the nation. NASA has created programs that allow owners of both racecars and high-performance street-driven vehicles to enjoy the full performance capabilities of their cars in a controlled professionally managed environment. NASA offers many different programs that will allow you to enjoy motorsports on a number of different levels, including our High Performance Driving Events (HPDE), Rally Sport, Time Trial, NASA-X and Competition Racing programs. For more information, log onto www.nasaproracing.com and connect with the community at Facebook, Twitter and Google+.