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Google Apps Adventures: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca pushes the limits of speed on the track and in the office with Google Apps

Editor's note: We're thrilled to share stories from the people and organizations that use Google Apps to explore, discover and push the boundaries. These businesses truly embody the freedom enabled by the cloud.

Our fourth Apps Adventure profiles Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, a racing organization based in Monterey, California that hosts world-renowned motorsport events at the track in Laguna Seca.

The famous corkscrew at Turn 8 defines how racers push the limits of speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. One of the most challenging turns in racing, drivers experience a blind uphill approach then a dramatic drop in elevation in the second half of the corkscrew. The turn is part of a 2.238-mile long track that’s been navigated by racing professionals from around the globe.

Every season, our organization hosts world-class races at the track, bringing thousands of motorsport enthusiasts to the Monterey Peninsula. From Ferrari Racing Days to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix motorcycle races, our staff is dedicated to hosting events that showcase extreme speed. To accomplish this, we need the right technology behind the scenes that works for onsite employees as well as our hundreds of volunteers. As a result, last year we switched to Google Apps and it’s been a natural fit for our organization.

Before Google Apps, we used Microsoft® Exchange and it was maintained by more than a dozen volunteers. When I started at Mazda Raceway, I spent about 20 percent of my time just keeping the email servers going. We needed to speed up how we worked and Google Apps offered this with email and other productivity apps at a fraction of the cost of our old system. There are no upgrades necessary, no server maintenance, no downtime, and worldwide availability. It just works—without any effort from me or our volunteers.

Google Apps has quickly become a core part of how we run our organization. We rely heavily on Google Calendar for scheduling and have added shared resources like conference rooms and VGA projectors that can be booked at the same time a meeting is scheduled. We’re accelerating teamwork internally with Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office and are using Google Docs and Sites to improve a range of business processes.

For example, volunteers are critical to our success and Google Apps makes it easier to recruit and manage them. We now have a volunteer resource site, created from Google Sites, where we embedded a Google form to track sign-ups. Instead of having volunteers print out a form and fax or mail it to us, they submit their information online and it automatically fills an internal Google spreadsheet.

Everyone at Mazda Raceway is constantly on the move. From executives traveling abroad to staff members who are often out on the property (the track is situated on more than 500 acres), Google Apps gives everyone the ability to communicate from anywhere. Mail, contacts and calendars are automatically synced to each person’s mobile phone without any work on my part.

At Mazda Raceway, we all have a passion for racing and want to share that passion with our fans. Watch the video below to learn more about how Google Apps is helping us do this. And if you love racing as much as we do, experience our track using the Street View feature in Google Maps.

Posted by George Krieger, Technical Services Manager, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca