Brands Hatch speeds up IT

Brands Hatch speeds up IT

Year-long programme overhauls applications and infrastructure

Motor racing venue Brands Hatch has undergone a £1m-plus IT overhaul, including upgrading legacy applications and installing a high-performance IP network, in a single year.

The programme included a full infrastructure update and installation of state-of-the-art ticketing software and a wireless network for media and teams to use on race days.

The first stage focused on infrastructure, said Brands Hatch MotorSport Vision group head of IT Matthew McGrory.

“The network was 12 years old and the PCs were Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Windows 98. Now they are all Windows XP,” he said. “We refreshed the network across our six sites and installed a new data centre at Brands Hatch.”

Three email servers were also consolidated onto Exchange.

“We have moved from email going down for four hours a week to a situation where it has gone down for just three hours since January,” said McGrory.

Getting the infrastructure up and running took from October 2006 to January 2007. Stage two of the overhaul included a new customer relationship management system and database consolidation.

“We had about nine different databases. Now we have two: one for business to business and one for business to consumer,” said McGrory.

Developing the online side of the business has been a priority. Tickets have been available online since June, and Brands Hatch is tendering for a new content management system. Plans include a trial of barcode and mobile phone ticketing.

"We may implement a combination of both, for customers’ ease of use and for data collection," said McGrory.

The company is also looking at installing a mesh wireless network in time for the start of the racing season in the spring.

“The network is very localised in certain areas, such as at conference suites. We want to provide access across the whole site, including at camp-sites, because there are lots of potential customers,” said McGrory.

“But at the moment we have no way of selling services such as broadband access.”