With tens of millions of fans, auto racing is one of America’s top spectator sports, and the most prominent sanctioning body for motorsports in the U.S. is undoubtedly NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing). Founded by Bill France Sr. in 1948, NASCAR sanctions over 1,500 races each year at tracks across the nation, and in Canada, Mexico and Europe.
NASCAR’s world headquarters are located in the International Motorsports Center, directly across from the iconic Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Built in 2009, the eight-story, 184,500-square-foot office complex was designed as a tribute to motorsports and includes memorabilia, souvenirs, imagery and trophies that are displayed on every floor throughout the building.
Previously, a large room on the first floor and a boardroom on the eighth floor were equipped with audio visual systems that NASCAR determined needed to be replaced. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer Craig Neeb said the technology in those rooms did not reflect what NASCAR represents as a sport and an industry. “It certainly didn’t represent our brand,” he said. “It was just lackluster to be really candid.”
Neeb and his team began a search for the most appropriate technology upgrades. “We wanted something bold, brash and impressive just like our sport,” he said. “Its color, its imagery and its sound. We wanted to convey all of that.”
Accordingly, they set their sights on LED video wall technology which, according to Neeb, offered the ability to capture people’s attention and create a truly immersive experience. Eventually, their journey led to Planar.
“We felt that Planar had continued to elevate to the level of a world class solution provider,” Neeb said. “Planar’s case studies provided great examples of why we should go with them. From a technology standpoint, it was clear the products fit each application so well. That’s what really got our attention.”
Showcasing the spectacle of auto racing
Adjacent to the lobby in a large ground floor room is a nearly 16-foot-wide and 5½-foot-high (8x4) Planar® TVF Series LED video wall with a 1.2mm pixel pitch (TVF1.2). With the room principally used to meet and greet visitors and to host race day events, Neeb said the new LED video wall allows them to showcase and celebrate their sport. “Imagery on the display is incredible. The video wall is also visible from outside the building, so it’s almost like a big billboard for us.”
As a functional canvas, NASCAR can use the Planar TVF Series LED video wall for presentations, meetings, employee gatherings and entertainment. “Sometimes it can be for something simple, like displaying welcome messages for visiting VIPs, thanking them for being a part of our sport, which can go a long way,” Neeb said.
But while the LED canvas serves a lot of purposes, Neeb stressed the top priority is to express the energy and excitement that is synonymous with NASCAR. “Some of the content we show includes footage from the vantage point of the car, which creates the sense that you’re in the car and racing around the racetrack,” Neeb said. “The video wall really imparts the feeling, the emotion and the visceral experience that is NASCAR.”
A boardroom with a view
On the eighth floor of the International Motorsports Center, the Bill France boardroom is dedicated to NASCAR’s founder and is comprised of a large and long space with a terrace directly outside that overlooks the Daytona International Speedway. Approaching the video wall upgrade, Neeb and his team were confronted with a challenge: One of the main attributes of the boardroom was the generous amount of window space along the long side of the room and at the end, which offered views and lots of ambient light but left no leeway to fit a video wall without covering some of that area. The creative solution that was ultimately implemented achieved the best of both worlds.
At the end of the boardroom, the existing windows were replaced with a nearly 16-foot-wide, 7-foot-high (8x6) Planar® DirectLight® Ultra™ Series LED video wall with a 1.2 pixel pitch (DLU1.2). Then, a camera was mounted on the outside of the building that relays a live feed to the video wall replicating the same view seen out the window previously. “It’s as if you’re looking out the window, just like before,” Neeb said.
As a premium option for high-end boardroom applications like the Bill France boardroom, Planar DirectLight Ultra Series LED video walls feature Planar® ActivAlign™ proprietary self-adjusting alignment technology, which maintains high visual performance over time while combating issues such as vibration and thermal expansion, helping ensure a seamless visual experience for presentations, video conferencing and the like. “It works incredibly effectively and with the brightness of the screen, content can be seen from anywhere in the room,” Neeb said. “The video wall is also very useful when we host hospitality events in the space and out on the terrace.”
In an overall sense, Neeb said one of the main benefits of the new LED video walls aside from the seamless picture quality—is the absolute reliability of the technology. “It’s incredibly resilient. You can trust it. The last thing you want is for your guests to walk into a space and see a display with obvious challenges to it. We can say from firsthand experience that the Planar video walls have lived up to their expectations.”
In addition to the Planar TVF Series and Planar DirectLight Ultra Series LED video walls, over three hundred Planar high performance HD LCD monitors (24”, 27” and 32”) are being used to support the building’s monitoring and security control systems.