Microsoft Office 2010 And Scott Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports: A Partnership Made For Speed
The irony in the partnership between Scott Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports team and sponsor Microsoft Office 2010 is that both represent speed, but in completely different spectrums. Both aim for speed, efficiency, precision and high performance quality, but Microsoft’s comes at the click of a mouse and Tucker’s, at the rev of an engine. Incidentally, when the two come together, they can enhance those qualities in each other. Microsoft Office 2010 has sponsored Level 5 Motorsports cars since the racing team began in 2008, and Level 5 has used Microsoft programs to streamline their performance and improve efficiency.
Tucker has had a breakthrough year this 2011 season, making numerous podium finishes and most recently, recording his third consecutive Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs win. But Tucker isn’t a one-man driving show and has also relied on co-drivers Luis Diaz, Christophe Bouchut, Joao Barbosa and Marino Franchitti this season. Having a team with multiple drivers-and in Tucker’s case, multiple car entries-necessitates extremely efficient, streamlined operations. Two entries means more pit stops to schedule, more equipment checks and more driver lineups to nail down. Three or four drivers per race means that everyone on the team must know who drives when, and for how long.
Microsoft Office 2011 software, along with other technology, is what allows motorsports teams to successfully transition drivers and perform pit-stop maintenance most effectively. Microsoft developed a software solution tailored specifically to the needs of the Level 5 Motorsports team. The partnership was the first of its kind for Microsoft. By proving its software useful and helpful for the fast-paced, intense motorsports circuit, Microsoft broadens its appeal, and in turn has helped Level 5.
The Level 5 Motorsports crew has an iPad attached to the side of its pit stop unit. The iPad has information ranging from which driver takes the wheel next to when the next scheduled pit stop is and what will be done during it. The team also established a wireless network within the pit stop so that team engineers can continuously send information to several other outlets within the team.
“It keeps everybody in the loop without having to run around and talk to everybody,” said Level 5′s Jeff Braun. “It can tell you what driver’s coming in, when we’re going to stop and if we’re going to clean the radiator or perform other maintenance at the next stop. It works out really well because everybody knows everybody’s on the same page. If ever anybody wonders, they don’t have to try to get someone else’s attention during an intense racing situation.”
For Tucker especially, having everyone in the loop has contributed tremendously to his success as a driver. Beginning his professional racing career in 2006 at age 44, Tucker needed some wiggle room while he was developing into the elite driver he’s proven himself to be in 2011. By stocking his team with veteran drivers such as Diaz and Bouchut, and by covering his bases elsewhere in operations, Tucker has been able to focus on practicing and his own development without having to worry about compensating for a crew mistake or pit stop error.
“We’re trying to cut down errors and make sure we’ve got the right tires and the right driver in the car,” said Braun of the use of technology in the pit. Having everyone prepared for the next move makes transitions between drivers much quicker, which means less time spent in the pit during a race.
Level 5 Motorsports also is sponsored by Honda Performance Development, Michelin, Windows Azure, Alpina watches and Edata Solutions.
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