The first race weekend with a full field of cars using the Race Position Display system in the Supercar Challenge. After the successful tests on Zolder and Assen the organization of the Supercar Challenge went ahead and ordered the full field of 35 cars to be equipped with the RPD system. We also introduced different colour displays to indicate the division in which the car is in. Blue LEDS for the Super GT class, red for the GT and green for the GTB division.
FridayIn the afternoon the LED-stickers were delivered to every team, so they could have a look at where the stickers should be positioned. This time two displays were delivered for each car, one for each side of the car. Some teams were skeptical first about the LED displays, but most of them immediately went ahead with sticking them on their cars. Putting the stickers on usually took as long as finding the spot to put them on. The LED screens are connected with a cable to a receiver box that has to be place inside of the car. This cable is a flat cable which can be routed easily and can be hidden well. On most cars you cannot even see the cable.
Since there are a lot of different car types driving in the Supercar Challenge there was a lot of variety of display position. Some put them on the doors, while others put them on the inside of the car behind the windows. In the end all the teams found a place for the display, even on smaller cars such as the Lotus Exige or the Moslers. Perhaps the most original location was on car 214. Here the team managed to put the display on the sides of the rear wing of a Viper.
The RPD system is a complete package and includes both the hardware as well as the software that communicates with the timekeeping and the cars. Qualifying started at 18.30 and we tested our control software with the timekeeping software from _WIGE/Mylaps. The control software however seemed to work perfectly.
After the qualifying SPAA05.com delivered the receiver/control boxes to the teams and gave instructions on how to install them into the car.
SaturdayMost teams had already built in most of the control units by themselves before the afternoon, without any additional instructions from SPAA05.com. In the afternoon the SPAA05.com team helped with the final issues and installation hiccups. All the systems were tested and proved to be working in just 2 hours. Everything was ready in time before the start of the first race.
Race 1A couple of minutes before the start there was a massive downpour of rain. So this was the best real life test for the resistance of the LED-displays against rain.
At the start there was unfortunately a problem with the control software. This issue was quickly resolved though and the Race Position Display worked perfectly afterwards. There were one or two cars which did not get position updates. However this was due to the fact that those cars were wrongly inputted in the timekeeping software, something that SPAA05.com had no control over.
After the race we did a quick test of the screens again and there were no problems on any of the displays. This proves that the stickers are usable even in the wet. They also appear to be even brighter than during the daylight. In fact they were so bright that we had to reduce the brightness during the race. This is one of the key features of the RPD system. Not only can de positions be updated remotely, but also the brightness and flickering of the screens.
SundaySince every car was ready, all the cars were quickly checked again to solve all the slight issues or questions that the race teams had.
Race 2 - Showing Position in ClassThe RPD system functioned perfectly throughout the race. The track was wet but dried up quickly during the race. We now displayed another feature of our control software: position in class, instead of the overall race position we showed in the previous race. Again we had some problem with 1 or 2 cars of which the screens were not update, but this was still due to the fact that the timekeeping had not resolved the issue from the day before.
You can watch video of the race at http://www.circuit-zandvoort.nl/Page?contentid=141&languageId=1
NowWe are currently evaluating the race and the equipment. Small improvements to both the software as well as the hardware are being implemented.
For now the Supercar Challenge will continue using the RPD system for the rest of the season as well as next season. So go visit their next event in Spa Francorchamps on 14 October to see the system live. You can also watch the TV broadcast on Motors TV and SBS6