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Network overhaul speeds up business for motor racing venue

Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire beefs up network infrastructure to support expansive business plans

Motor racing venue Rockingham Motor Speedway has upgraded its network, server and disaster recovery infrastructure to support its rapidly growing business and tap into new revenue opportunities.

Located on the site of a former British Steel works near Corby in Northamptonshire, Rockingham Motor Speedway is one of the newest motor racing circuits in the UK, having been set up in 2001. The 52,000-seat venue is unique in the UK as the only American-style banked oval circuit currently in use.

Besides motor racing events, including the British Touring Car and GT Championships, Rockingham has recently expanded into conferences, events and serviced offices, and hosts a number of large-scale events, such as vehicle auctions, on an 80 acre showground.

However, as Shaun Curtis, facilities operations manager at Rockingham Motor Speedway, pointed out, the growing diversity of operations and increasing demands from customers and visitors meant its legacy network and IT systems were due an upgrade.

In particular, Rockingham’s networking and telecoms infrastructure was coming under vastly increased pressure as the increasing levels of digitisation within motorsport – a theme frequently explored by Computer Weekly – meant that more information must be transmitted quickly and without interruption, and more people move around the site with mobile devices.

Additionally, tenants moving into its serviced office facilities expected and required fully dependable connectivity in order to operate.

In light of this change, it was especially important to be able to guarantee 100% reliability to safeguard the business’s reputation and credibility as a racing venue.

“Having something that is always operational, with zero downtime, is very important,” said Curtis. “If something goes down on a race weekend we are basically ruined.”

Curtis turned to the firm’s existing IT-managed services provider, ITS, to address its changing requirements. The two businesses have been working together since 2010.

ITS first assessed Rockingham’s businesses to gain a picture of how the business worked and what its requirements were, so that it could match those to the optimum technology available.

“They provided full project management in terms of looking at what we had, our buildings, using their expertise to deliver the right solution for us,” said Curtis.

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Having decided the network was a priority, it set to work on Rockingham’s network infrastructure, deploying a dedicated 100Mbps leased line, up from 10Mbps. In order to guarantee capacity, security and flexibility for the serviced office facility, it also switched Rockingham onto a virtual local area network (VLAN) and ran new fibre cables into the building.

It also delivered an upgraded server project to give Rockingham more capacity to support its growth ambitions.

A further change was made to Rockingham’s disaster recovery processes, swapping out unfit-for-purpose tape-based backups for daily cloud-backups with Veeam.

Curtis laid out some of the key benefits of the upgrade, including higher availability and less downtime, the ability for Rockingham’s teams to focus on core elements of their business and eliminating the need to use internal resources to conduct routine network or IT-related tasks, and reductions in capital expenditure.

“ITS’s expertise and flexibility has been invaluable, particularly when we have been as busy as recently,” he said.

The additional bandwidth capacity now built into Rockingham’s network has opened up further possibilities that the business had not yet considered, such as offering wireless connectivity to event attendees and race-goers. “We have seating for 20,000, so adding in wireless infrastructure could be a big pull,” said Curtis.

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