A subsidiary of Toyota Motor North America, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) has over 40 years of experience in motorsports, competing across multiple platforms, including the NASCAR Cup Series. Before 2015, TRD had focused the majority of its resources on engine development and engineering endeavors. But, sensing the growing impact that software and data could have, the company began an initiative to capture and analyze data to outpace the competition. For the past 5 years, TRD has used Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build more than 20 applications that collect historical competition data, current vehicle data, and current practice data. The insights gleaned from that data helped the company achieve NASCAR Cup Series manufacturers’ championships in 2016, 2017, and 2019 and drivers’ championships in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
But to continue to stay ahead of the competition, TRD had to squeeze more insights out of its data. “Over the years we had accumulated an awful lot of data,” says Jonny Elliott, TRD’s senior engineering manager of technology. “But it was disparate, and it wasn’t really providing value.” Looking in each application for key information—including engine data, race images, and brake data—also consumed time that TRD couldn’t afford to lose. In racing, milliseconds matter, and even moments of downtime can cost a race.
So the company again turned to AWS to bring data together in its core data platform. TRD has begun to migrate all the data to the repository, where it will be able to easily and quickly perform analytics. This data repository brings the company’s siloed applications into one centralized location, enabling the team to find the important information needed to make snap decisions during races. TRD then analyzes data using Amazon Athena, a serverless interactive query service. It also uses Amazon Kinesis Data Streams (Amazon KDS), a massively