With an increasing trend towards tablet and mobile devices for enhanced viewing experiences, IMSA is preparing to launch a second-screen app of its own for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship next year.
The app, which pulls together timing and scoring, in-car cameras, social media feeds and a possibility of real-time telemetry into a single platform, has already been in the works for a number of months.
“At the end of 2012, we started looking at what we could do to develop a more robust app,” IMSA VP of Marketing David Pettit told Sportscar365.
“We built the in-car cameras and started building the social media feeds. We have our base app, which is timing and scoring and a little bit more than that. The plan is to build the assets so we can wrap it into a package.”
While the app would have similar functionality of the FIA WEC’s second screen app that launched earlier this year, Pettit said the plan would be to offer it free to fans, with financial support coming from IMSA’s automotive partners.
“We’re working with the automotive manufacturers to [make] it more specific to each of the manufacturers,” he said. “So instead of a paid app, what you could do is get the base app [for free].
“Theoretically, if you want to get the full app, you give your name and information and say, ‘I Like Porsche’ and it becomes a Porsche skin with Porsche information.
“You can still toggle between the different cars and everything else. The manufacturers will help bring this to life instead of having the consumers pay for it.”
Pettit presented the concept to the manufacturers’ advisory council and manufacturers’ working group earlier this month at Road America and is optimistic of having six to seven OEMs on board to support the project.
“We’re 80 percent there,” he said. “We’re going to have something, it’s just a question of how far we’ll take it when it comes down to all of the moving parts. It’s heading in the right way and we’re pretty excited about it.”
In addition to the second-screen experience, Pettit said fans in Europe, Asia and Africa would be able to watch the live race stream in the app as well.
Additionally there’s an initiative under way to provide an enhanced trackside experience for fans, with the possibility of launching a dongle for cell phones that would stream the race feed and provide all other app features via a localized UHF band at each circuit.
“From a second-screen experience, away from the track, we think it will make it better for the fans,” Pettit said.
“For outside of country, you can get the whole thing and stream the race if you want, and if you’re at the track, if we can make the dongle work, it’s pretty exciting.
“We’ve got a lot of commitment in making it happen. It’s just the last little push that we have to work on.”
Pettit said the plan would be to launch the second screen app at the Twelve Hours of Sebring next year.