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Do Racing Facilities Use Passive RFID?

Posted By RFID Journal, 01.25.2011
Do you know of any cases of passive radio frequency identification technology being utilized in this manner?

—Name withheld

Yes, there are several ways in which racing facilities can use passive RFID systems. One is to track car parts and tires. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has been employing passive 125 kHz tags to track the chassis of each car that races in its Sprint Cup Series, as well as special fuel tanks known as fuel cells, thereby ensuring that the chassis are not replaced or tampered with prior to a race, and that each team has an official NASCAR fuel cell with exactly the same capacity—17 gallons.

In so doing, the organization can better ensure that each racing team complies with its regulations, and help ensure the safety of the cars and their drivers, since an altered chassis or fuel cell could offer a racer an unfair advantage over other drivers, while also making the vehicle more vulnerable in the event of an accident (see NASCAR Keeps Races Safe With RFID).

In 2006, Goodyear began employing RFID to track the roughly 200,000 tires used throughout each NASCAR season at all three race series—Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck—as part of a tire-leasing program. NASCAR's organizers requested the leasing program as a means of ensuring that each team had the same access to tires certified for use in races. The system utilizes 915 MHz ISO 18000-6B passive RFID tags, which Goodyear embeds into the racing tires during manufacture (see Goodyear Using RFID for NASCAR from Cradle to Grave).

All race cars competing in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) since late 2008 have used Dunlop tires embedded with passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags to track the usage of those tires by each team, thereby helping the organization to track which tires, and how many, were used—without requiring cars to stop (see British Touring Car Championship Tracks Tires).

In addition, the Indy Racing League is using active RFID tags to time and score 16 events. The system also provides critical data to drivers and race crews, and helps engine, tire and chassis manufacturers develop products (see RFID Gives Racing a Winning Edge).

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor,
RFID Journal

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