With the interest in North American sports car racing reaching new heights, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) needed a technology solution to reach its rapidly expanding fan base. IMSA did not have to look very far to find support for its vision. Visual Studio — the application development solution from Microsoft — has been involved with IMSA since 2013, and proved the perfect partner to develop the organization’s ambitious new mobile app.

The process is all being documented in a one-of-a-kind “living case study” where the development team shares details as this unique application is built. The team will be sharing insights on teamtowin.net throughout the build.

Visual Studio offers developer tools for cross-platform application developers, and it was a natural fit for Microsoft to bring its software, expertise and relationships together to support the development of the new app. For the complex project, Microsoft approached InterKnowlogy, a long-standing and successful development partner, to assist. San Diego-based InterKnowlogy is adding IMSA to its list of clients that includes media stalwarts such as NBC and CNN among others.

The opportunity to combine the technical resources of Microsoft with the excitement of motorsports has touched off an exciting evolution of the IMSA digital platform and will provide its fans — around the globe and on any device — with an unequalled experience.

“What it’s really doing is creating a complete second screen experience to supplement the TV broadcast that our fans are consuming at home,” said IMSA’s Brian Beierwaltes, Director, Brand and Consumer Marketing. “And, for our international audience, it’s allowing them access to our content that they may or may not have access to through their local providers.”

Microsoft brings a cutting-edge set of application development tools to the table, specifically Visual Studio, Xamarin and Azure. Visual Studio offers a suite of solutions for developers that enables seamless collaboration, for cross-platform development. The toolset, with the help of the Xamarin Platform, enabled nearly 70 percent code re-use, saving a tremendous amount of time in development.

“IMSA has amazingly rich content, including live audio and video streams,” said Rodney Guzman, Founder of InterKnowlogy. “This makes building apps for phones and tablets across iOS, Android and Windows an interesting challenge. Visual Studio and Xamarin enables us to share code across all these platforms in a seamless and efficient way. I am certain that some would ask why IMSA involved Microsoft. This is a mobile app. What does Microsoft know about building mobile apps across iOS and Android? Well, it turns out quite a lot. From past projects, we already knew the tooling we get with Visual Studio and Xamarin allows us to build amazing mobile apps across all platforms and OS’s.

“The other side of the coin is the plumbing we get to integrate into cloud infrastructure. This app needed to scale across the huge IMSA fan base during live events. From past projects, we knew how effective we could be building scalable mobile apps with Azure. So, to IMSA and to us, involving Microsoft made perfect sense.”

Not only was the "best of breed" development foundation important to the plan, but user feedback was also key to the process for IMSA to ensure success of the project. To that end, IMSA and Microsoft will be using UserVoice, a feedback tool that integrates into the Visual Studio workflow.

“We all wanted fans to guide the user experience,” said Beierwaltes. “So, we’ve been utilizing the agile development methodology in our partnership with Microsoft, so we can change as we go. We can get input from our fans and users as we go. The input up front comes from both the fans and the manufacturers. Then, ongoing, we have this mechanism that we’ve developed to continue to refine it and improve it.”

The platform provided by Microsoft will have to be able to support a huge amount of content and deliver it to a global audience, and the next generation of race fans has high standards when it comes to technology. That means a cross-platform, Universal Application is the answer.

The opportunity that this new app gives IMSA to grow the sport, engage fans with exciting content and provide brand exposure to teams and manufacturers is huge, and that is why Microsoft was chosen as a partner. It has the platform, the people and the tools to make sure that this project is successful.

Follow along with the development of this exciting new mobile application throughout the process with the live developer blog, business case studies and success tips at http://www.teamtowin.net.