from FIA Karting
Apex Timing has been working with the FIA Karting Championships for about ten years, initially in the precise field of timekeeping. But the dynamism and the taste for innovation that characterise the young French company, founded by Pierrick Bottollier and Sylvain Guerraz, has allowed it to progressively widen the range of its services. We needed an interview with Pierrick Bottollier to take stock of the evolution of the sector.
PIERRICK, LET’S START WITH THE GENESIS OF APEX TIMING
Sylvain and I were colleagues in a multi-sport timing company, which came from the ski industry. We shared a desire to focus on the development of a single activity to get to the bottom of things. We created Apex Timing with this in mind in 2011. The opportunity we had to collaborate with the CIK-FIA helped us launch our business and specialise in karting. Starting from a blank sheet of paper, we had to face the challenge of being better than our competitors and to ensure a service with impeccable reliability.
WHAT HAS APEX TIMING BEEN ABLE TO BRING TO KARTING COMPETITION?
Our timing services for karting competitions are entirely designed in-house to meet or exceed customer needs. Thanks to the CIK-FIA we have been able to move forward in several directions. The first point was to allow a wide distribution and consultation of results to reach a maximum of enthusiasts.
Our live timing has progressively developed to provide a maximum of information to competitors. For example, we set up a local wireless network that allows access to our services without having to connect to the Internet. We quickly integrated the publication of results with the online publication of official documents for the races. At the end of each event, a “booklet” allows you to download all the results and documents of the competition in one click.
WHAT HAVE THE SUBSEQUENT DEVELOPMENTS OF YOUR SERVICE BEEN?
As we had to process more information, we proposed ensuring the CIK-FIA’s communication to the different services at each event and to centralise the feedback from the race direction, the technical stewards and of course the sporting commission. Today, no more paper documents are needed between them, everything is computerised and shared on the network.
One of the next steps was the management of tyres. Thanks to the barcodes integrated from the manufacturing stage, it has become easier to associate the tyres allocated to each driver to check their correct use in a few seconds. In another area, the printing of results for competitors and the public led to a high consumption of paper as well as a significant workload to produce them and to collect the leftovers often abandoned on the ground. Since this year, we have been able to introduce a digital terminal that provides local access to all documents on a smartphone or tablet. The costly and time-consuming printing and posting phase has now been eliminated.
HOW MUCH OF APEX TIMING’S CURRENT BUSINESS IS RACING?
It is an important part because it is what has contributed to build our reputation. Our partnership with the CIK-FIA is a much appreciated quality label. In parallel to racing, we have developed our activity with leisure karting centres. Although our competition timing solution is widely used, it is the leisure field that has allowed us to extend our services more widely.
From the timing of leisure races, we have built a complete computer system capable of easing the load for track managers and increasing their activity. Our system can manage automated ticketing, results and their sending to the drivers, the follow-up of the customers, the statistics, the promotions, etc. according to the needs of each centre. It has been a success with over 450 customers worldwide from Las Vegas to Shanghai to Australia. It has become our main activity with nearly 70% of our turnover. Thanks to this, Apex Timing now employs seven people full time and is looking to recruit three more.
OBVIOUSLY, INNOVATION IS AT THE HEART OF YOUR COMPANY
That’s what we are passionate about. We have launched into another sector around equipment control systems for motor sports in which the technological research is intense. We are now involved in several FIA championships and we also work with Michelin. The development of sensors and RFID chips is enabling us, for example, to simplify and accelerate technical inspections in Formula E to an unprecedented degree.
We have many other projects in the pipeline, especially for karting, and we remind ourselves every day that it is thanks to the confidence of the CIK-FIA that we are where we are today. The other decisive element is the quality of our team, who I would like to thank here.