The thumping heart of British Motor Racing and home of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix, ‘Silverstone’ is one of the most recognisable brand names in the UK. Its roots go back to the end of the Second World War which had left Britain with no major race track, but an abundance of airfields.
At the time Silverstone was both a World War II Royal Air Force bomber station and a working farm. It was chosen as the prime location to bring back international motor racing to Britain.
Silverstone opened its doors in October 1948, complete with piggery and crops in the centre of the circuit (protected from the cars by hay bales) and welcomed an estimated 100,000 people to see Luigi Villoresi cruise to victory in his Maserati.
In 1951 the British Racing Driver’s Club took over the Silverstone lease from the RAC, intent on making the circuit a more permanent fixture and creating stands for the spectators.
With Formula 1 only gaining in popularity, the 1974/75 season saw substantial changes made to the track, including the infamous ‘Woodcote’ corner becoming the fastest in all the Formula 1 races.
Jackie Stewart reckoned you could take it at 160mph in perfect conditions.
Major refurbishment was undertaken in 1991 and again in 1994 (following the deaths of Aryton Senna and Roland Ratzenburger during the San Marino Grand Prix weekend) to improve the safety of the circuit, but maintain the speed it had become renowned for.
Silverstone appeal extends well beyond just Formula 1 and with the most recent significant investment including the new ‘Silverstone Wing’ it is now the venue for many on and off track experiences including Moto GP, touring cars, truck racing and many car club events.
It’s also the growth off the track which has been a significant development, including corporate events, a business park and its own university.
TSG were introduced at a time when Silverstone wanted to take a more strategical and corporate approach in order to maximise the assets of the venue. Michaela Robins, Head of IT for Silverstone, explains the rationale behind bringing TSG on board:
“At the point our organisation began to make significant changes we engaged with TSG because we knew they would be able to work with us as a partner, support and advise on our strategic direction.”
As part of our strategic role, TSG SystemCare (our highly intelligent IT Support software designed to detect problems in advance of them happening, and prevent systems from failing) was chosen to proactively monitor and manage the entire Silverstone server estate.
This includes the race control facilities which link to cameras around the track.
TSG SystemCare supports all the critical systems which are in place during all events and Silverstone rely on them to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators and that the events run smoothly.
Watching the systems like clockwork are the TSG SystemCare team who are picking up on any alerts which might suggest something needs attention.
TSG work in partnership with Silverstone’s own IT team to inform them of any potential issues which they might need to address.
TSG SystemCare is used by thousands of TSG customers who can have the peace of mind that their IT systems are always being looked after.
Michaela says, “Even though we have our own IT team, TSG’s breadth and depth of available resource and skill enables Silverstone to be flexible to adapt to our ever changing scenarios.”
SystemCare is designed to meet the needs of any business – whether you have no dedicated IT team and therefore want a strong platform which looks after everything for you, or, like Silverstone, you have an in-house team who are able to get on with developing the systems.
They can have the peace of mind knowing that SystemCare is taking care of all the ‘firefighting’ issues that arise in every single business.
This could be things such as low disk space, backup verifications or checking updates have been successfully installed and making sure that all Anti-Virus systems are working correctly.
These are disruptions that might seem small on the surface but which can make a significant impact on the performance of your business.
Of course, SystemCare looks after the big things too, and if the Silverstone IT team is too busy on any particular occasion, TSG are available to step in and resolve issues as quickly as possible.
“TSG SystemCare enables my IT team to focus on the important issues, client events and future direction rather than the day to day support as we know TSG are managing all of that on our behalf,” says Michaela.
As well as comprehensive IT Support, TSG also delivers and supports Silverstone with Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a powerful accountancy solution which allows finance teams to be at their most productive.
At the time of writing TSG and Silverstone are currently undertaking a large project to integrate Dynamics NAV into their core business applications including CRM and EPOS.
This is part of the streamlining, centralisation and integration of business services.
Dynamics NAV will then sit at the very heart of Silverstone’s systems which means that the team will be able to deal with the growing volume of ticket sales (over 130,000 tickets are sold during a Grand Prix weekend alone) with far less manual intervention.
This will help the team to save time and in simplifying the process drive further efficiencies within Silverstone by joining the applications together.
With these core support and system elements in place TSG and Silverstone are looking to the future and are working together on the strategic planning to help deliver the underpinning services to enable Silverstone to grow and build on their success.
Michaela surmises, “ I have been really pleased with the way that the TSG partnership has taken a step forward in the last 12 months and we feel confident in TSG to support our end to end IT - from our telephone lines, infrastructure to our core Microsoft NAV application suite.”