The Superbike World Championship will come to an end this weekend at the Estoril circuit in Portugal.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the racing season, causing dramatic changes to the championship calendar, but at the same time it has prompted teams to find innovative ways to promote their brands.
And one initiative that has undoubtedly attracted attention and admiration in the paddock is the LED panel garage set-up introduced by the MIE Racing Honda Team at the Teruel round.
A high-tech set-up made entirely of LED panels that allows the team to broadcast live images of the sessions – making the MIE garage the reference point for media, fans, teams and everyone working in pit-lane – as well as branded content regarding the team’s sponsors, who thereby enjoy great visibility.
Midori Moriwaki, team owner of the MIE Racing Honda Team, takes us behind the scenes of this incredible project.
Midori, how did the idea of this installation come about? Is it something you had already heard of, or was it your idea?
"Well, because some of our partner companies operate in the IT field, we had already considered the possibility to organize LED pit panels in the past. We thought it would be a great thing to do and when we realized we needed to quickly replace our previous panels, we thought we could transform that need into an opportunity. And I have to say it’s been a great success".
How did you implement the project in such a short time? Is this one of the advantages of this kind of set-up? Execution speed and flexibility?
"Yes, quickly fitting and fixing everything I need for the pit panels and presentation of the team and sponsors. Basically, mid-season, when we made some changes to our team organization and quickly had to come up with an effective solution for replacing the pit panels, we decided to try and use LED panels, both because it was an efficient way to rapidly create a pit box layout from scratch and because it gave us the opportunity to change the design any time we wanted, giving our sponsors fantastic visibility and a strong image".
How many panels are we talking about in your garage? And what is the weight?
"This is what I learnt from LED Gear technicians; we’re becoming specialists of Led at this point! So, our pit Box consists of 198 LED modules, one module has dimensions of 0.5 x 0.5 m, ie 128 x 128 pixels. LED screen is 49.5 m2. We are speaking of about 5 tons."
Does it take long to assemble and disassemble this installation or is it much the same as the time needed for a ‘normal’ garage set-up?
"The set-up and packing takes around the same time as it would normally. Of course, it depends how many panels you use but, for our garage, it takes two people approximately 4/5hrs".
Can you transmit both recorded images and live images simultaneously, maybe in different areas? It seems that the MIE Racing Honda Team has become one of the best places to follow the action from pitlane…
"Yes, we can do both, the system is incredibly flexible and versatile. At each round we produce some personalised content for the sponsors, for the riders, animations of the bike and so on, and then we just upload them to the system so that we have new and interesting images at every round. We try to engage the motorsport fans and sponsors with a different approach that uses digital tools. Particularly now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, spectators cannot experience the atmosphere of the circuit, so this serves as a connection, helping the world to feel closer to the championship and teams. It has worked incredibly well".
It seems to be a great showcase for any sponsor or brand…
"Actually, it was only after doing it that we realised just how effective it is! It has exceeded our expectations."
Is it possible to “turn off” the panels when the garage is closed and the mechanics are working on the bikes?
"Yes! With just one click of the PC!"
Do you think this is the future in terms of race garage set-up?
"Well, many teams have shown an interest in the system while others have said that this marks the start of a new era in the world of motorsport".
ED PIT WALL specification & possibilities
The LED wall is created from 0.5m x 0.5m modules (500x500x85mm, Weight 8kg)
90° external/internal corner possibilities
-10 ° /+10 ° optional curve possibilities
160° viewing angle
Resolution of each module is 128×128 pixels
Brightness 5000 nt
There is no limit in terms of wall size.
Approx. size needed for one pit box is 50m² (13 107 200 pixels)
Modules are self-stacking – no need for additional construction for indoor use
Note: Electricity required for use (max 590 W/ m²)
Space required for operators (2.5 m²) does not have to be inside garage
2 x video controllers are required for the operation of a 50m² space
MEDISERVER (content) possibilities
Playing video content – standard video formats supported (mov, avi, mpg…)
3D animations – alpha channels are supported
Logo crawl (horizontal, vertical)
Backgrounds (any mixture of video/animation/stills)
Static pictures – Any kind of standard pic format (jpg, png, bmp, tiff…)
Live in – Real video inputs (Analog, Digital) Live camera, results, circuit channels inputs
Website content (eg. weather forecast, clock)
Texts (static, crawl, moving)
And any other effects
Any combination of the above-mentioned possibilities.