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Panasonic Toughpad Helps Drive Success At Formula Ford

Bracknell, UK. 20th AUGUST 2014
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablets are helping Formula Ford keep racing teams on track during the 30 races of the 2014 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship - the most attractive junior single-seater series in the UK for drivers with dreams of reaching Formula One.

Working hard to ensure the racing season runs smoothly and fairly is Nigel Jones, the Motor Sports Association Technical Delegate for Formula Ford, who is in charge of scrutineering and technical eligibility at the races. His essential tool for the job is the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet, which makes his role as the official rule keeper of technical specifications much easier.

"My job is to ensure that the cars are built and maintained to the technical specifications issued by Ford Racing," explained Nigel. "During race meetings, I check that the cars continue to comply with the specifications and race by the rules."

One of the key elements of Formula Ford's success, unlike other single-seater series, is that it is not a one-make championship. By allowing freedom of chassis design, engine build and numerous technical items of specification on the car, it drives the teams to develop cars of an exceptionally high technical standard. The vehicles can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 2.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 160mph.

The strictly enforced technical regulations have been one of the mainstays of the championship over the years. The Ford Motor Company is behind these regulations, with staff at Ford Racing in the Dunton Research Centre, writing and updating and providing the vital expertise of the championship scrutineer and electronics experts.

Diagnostics during race weekend
The latest cars have an Electronic Control Unit (ECU), which controls the engine and records all the car performance data during the course of the weekend. Nigel can plug the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet into the car's ECU at any point to check that the cars are meeting regulations. Data recorded includes information such as revolutions per minute, speed, engine and oil temperatures. In the event of an engine problem, the scrutineers can also use the Panasonic Toughpad tablet to help diagnose specific issues for the drivers and their mechanics.

Perfect for the race environment
"For the environment that we work in, the Panasonic Toughpad is perfect," said Nigel. "It is so compact and easy to carry around, so I have all the data and information I need at my fingertips wherever I am during the meeting."

"As well as downloading and analysing race data from the vehicles, I use the Panasonic Toughpad for a host of different activities during the race meeting. I record the weights of the driver and cars before and after the race, I have all the rules and regulations available on the device to check at any time and I can also use the tablet for judges to review in-car camera footage of racing incidents."

Nigel says that the tablet is built for working on the move. "The flexible specification is ideal for tailoring the tablet to meet your needs. We use an Ethernet connection for downloading data from the cars and the USB connection for fast exchange of data. The stylus enables me to work accurately with forms and information on the screen using Windows 8 Pro."

"I trust the Panasonic Toughpad tablet implicitly," said Nigel. "It is very reliable and I can be using it consistently from Friday afternoon through to Sunday on a race weekend. With its hot swappable battery option, I can change the battery on the hoof and just carry on, without having to turn the device off and without losing time or data. It works in all the weathers and difficult conditions we can throw at it and the screen clarity is perfect."

Designed for mobile workers of all kinds, the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet is a fanless design powered by a 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor. This powerful new processor delivers exceptional performance with a very low power consumption of just 4.5 Watts, compared to the regular 15 Watts, keeping heat generation to a minimum. The Toughpad FZ-M1 comes with 4GB RAM (8GB optional) and 128 SSD (256GB optional).

Weighing in at just 540g, and 18mm thin, the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet is also highly flexible with its configuration ports and its integrated business expansion module. Configurable integrated options include 4G mobile broadband, GPS and vehicle pass through antenna. The integrated business expansion module options include Mini-Serial, LAN, NFC, Smartcard Reader, 1D/2D Barcode Reader, UHF RFID and battery hot swap capabilities. As standard, the Toughpad FZ-M1 includes a full size USB 3.0, Micro SD, Headset, DC-In and microSIM.

Using the latest LCD technology the Toughpad FZ-M1 offers unrivalled levels of viewing quality for 7" tablet users working inside or outside. Offering extra wide viewing angles, strengthened glass, high contrast ratio and 500cd/m² high brightness paired with a Panasonic anti-reflection layer, the WXGA (1280x800) Resolution screen is purpose built to perform in any light conditions with ten finger capacitive touch screen capabilities.

The Toughpad family meets similar durability standards to Panasonic's Fully Rugged Toughbook product line. The Toughpad FZ-M1 is drop tested to 150cm as well as having an IP65 ingress protection rating for resistance to dust and water and it will operate effectively in temperatures ranging from -10 to +50°C.

For video footage of the tablet in action at a Formula Ford event and further commentary, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLD98ZAhnOU&list=UUALW5w_HqV4Gs3Wo3f1LNpg

Press contact:
Paul Smith
Tel: +44 (0)7770 828525
[email protected]

About Panasonic System Communications Company Europe (PSCEU)
PSCEU is the European branch of Panasonic Systems Communications Company, the global B2B division of Panasonic. PSCEU's goal is to improve the working lives of business professionals and help their organisations' efficiency and performance. We help organisations capture, compute and communicate all sorts of information: image, voice, and textual data. Products include PBX telephone switches, document printers, professional cameras, projectors, large visual displays, rugged mobile PCs and fire alarms solutions. With around 400 staff, engineering design expertise, global project management capability and a large European partner network, PSCEU offers unrivalled capability in its markets.

PSCEU is made up of four product categories:

  • Communication Solutions, including professional scanners, multifunctional printers, telephony systems and SIP terminal devices.
  • Visual System Solutions, including projectors and professional displays. Panasonic offers the widest range of Visual products, and leads the European projector market with 28 % revenue share. (Futuresource B2B market tracking, Q1/2014)
  • Professional Camera Solutions, including Broadcast & ProAV products, security, fire alarm systems and industrial medical vision (IMV) technology. Panasonic is one of the top two professional camera vendors in Europe.
  • Computer Product Solutions helps mobile workers improve productivity with its range of Toughbook rugged notebooks, Toughpad business tablets and electronic point of sales (EPOS) systems. As European market leaders, Panasonic Toughbook had a 66.4% revenue share of sales of rugged and durable notebooks and Panasonic Toughpad held a 50.4% revenue share of sales of rugged business tablets in 2013 (VDC Research, March 2014).

About Panasonic
Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and engineering of electronic technologies and solutions for customers in residential, non-residential, mobility and personal applications. Since its founding in 1918, the company has expanded globally and now operates over 500 consolidated companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of 7.70 trillion yen (71.5 billion Euros) for the year ending March 31, 2014. Committed to pursuing new value through innovation across divisional lines, the company strives to create a better life and a better world for its customers. For more information about Panasonic, please visit the company's website at panasonic.net

Source: RealWire

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