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Circuit Paul Ricard stays ahead with Sony AV solutions

Circuit Paul Ricard stays ahead with Sony AV solutions
The celebrated Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet, near Marseille, has been delivering thrilling experiences to motor racing fans since 1970.
The celebrated Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet, near Marseille, has been delivering thrilling experiences to motor racing fans since 1970. As one of the world’s safest motorsport venues, the circuit’s owners knew it was time to update their aging video monitoring systems. And with an upgrade of all its AV facilities, Circuit Paul Ricard wished to compete with other tracks as a premier entertainment destination for sports fans.

Outside, monitoring the 5.8km track presents some tough challenges as cars speed through scorching on-track temperatures plus rain, snow and wind. Night-time racing is made trickier to capture by harsh glare from car headlights.

Indoors, power-hungry analog video screens generated significant heat, often being used 24 hours a day. Over a decade old, the bulky CRT screens were also becoming increasingly unreliable.

Spectacular images in all conditions
Circuit Paul Ricard has updated its entire video infrastructure with the help of Sony, plus networked communications specialist SOGETREL and software vendor SeeTec.

The centerpiece in the Control Room is a video wall comprised of nine Sony 60” BRAVIA Full HD Professional Displays. Sony’s VPL-FHZ55 3LCD laser projector displays crisp images of the race leader, while a second VPL-FHZ55 helps safer racing with an overall view of the circuit. Offering up to 20,000 hours operation without replacement, the laser light source cuts maintenance for busy support staff. What’s more, near-instant start-up means that no time’s wasted at the start of a session.

Fans can enjoy real-time race footage and other information on over 100 networked BRAVIA Professional Displays around the venue. In the main reception area, three 65” BRAVIA 4K displays offer stunning 4K images of the circuit, together with touch-enabled BRAVIA screens to guide visitors. Guests can play games on a Sony PlayStation 4, while the ´Grand Prix Burger´ restaurant shows menu prices and sporting action on more Sony displays.

On the circuit itself, 40 SNC-WR632 PTZ cameras capture speeding vehicles at a crisp 60 frames per second – making it easy to identify cars clearly, even at night. A further five SNC-EM632R ruggedized cameras keep a watchful eye around the site.

Future-proofing a world-class entertainment destination
Circuit Paul Ricard’s owners wanted to future-proof the venue’s appeal with the latest AV innovations. Sony was able to offer a total solution, spanning screens and projectors including laser and 4K display technologies. What’s more, the client’s management team valued Sony’s responsiveness as a partner in delivering products on time and answering technical queries.

Choosing energy-efficient BRAVIA Professional Displays has dramatically reduced electrical power consumption, while technical teams also praised the displays’ ease of installation, picture quality and the wide range of screen sizes.

Out on the track, Sony’s PTZ cameras’ powerful optical zoom reveal exceptional close-up detail, making it easier to spot whether distant trails on the track are hazardous oil or just water. Thanks to the cameras’ on-board image stabilizer, pictures are crisp and vibration-free, even in windy conditions.

“Now we’re getting pictures from night-time races with a quality that’s close to daylight conditions” notes IT Systems Manager Thierry Dostes. “We can follow the cars and react quickly if something happens. What we really appreciated – above the quality and compatibility of Sony’s products – is the responsiveness of the team, who’ve always been on hand to answer questions.”

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