Justin Haley, driver of the #24 Zeality Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2017 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Rookie driver Justin Haley took to the circuit for his GMS Racing team this past weekend at Martinsville Speedway with the backing of an innovative sponsor during the Texas Roadhouse 200, a NASCAR Truck Series race.
Zeality, a company that provides cloud-based technology for immersive content like augmented reality, virtual reality and 360-degree photo and video, partnered with the 18-year-old Haley for multiple races, according to GMS Racing. Zeality can provide drivers like Haley an opportunity to create a range of immersive content for fans.
During Friday’s practice and Saturday’s race in which he finished 11th, Haley drove his car with a brand-new look: a pink-and-black paint scheme with Zeality branding. That distinctive look could be a hit for fans in the virtual reality and 360-degree content that Haley can now create with Zeality in the passenger seat. Already, Haley has taken advantage of the sponsorship, using Zeality’s Re/Lives platform to give fans a live 3D look into his team’s racing operation, including preparations on his car.
“It is so cool that Zeality jumped on board with our No. 24 GMS Racing team,” Haley said in a statement. “The best part of my job is engaging with fans and Zeality gives us a whole new way to do that. NASCAR has the best fans in all of sports and I’m stoked that Zeality gives them a new platform to interact with our team.”
Motor racing has seemingly limitless potential for fan engagement, and Zeality’s sponsorship could pave the way for even more innovative ideas potentially centered around games played in virtual reality or 360-degree content.
Other projects Zeality has embarked on include an NHL-first Oculus VR app for the San Jose Sharks that allows fans to create reaction videos within 360-degree and virtual reality content through the Re/Lives platform. That same capability led to Haley’s video above, and to fan reactions during the NFL draft thanks to Zeality’s work with the San Francisco 49ers in May.
Using Re/Lives, Haley could bring his fans not just into the GMS Racing operation, but onto the racetrack. Imagine, perhaps, a virtual reality perspective of the race from the passenger seat of his No. 24 truck, or a 360-degree video of the pit crew replacing the truck’s tires. Haley can use Zeality’s technology to bring spectators as close as possible to the race.
“Motorsports has a rich and storied history. We are fueling the next chapter, as we believe the future of motorsports will rely on new ways to captivate and engage generations of fans,” Dipak Patel, Zeality’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Interactive immersive experiences like AR, VR, MR, and 360 media, enabled by Zeality’s platform, will allow fans to connect and engage in exciting new ways. We’re excited to be partnering with Justin as he represents the future of Motorsports and the promise of a whole new way of thinking.”
Until then, Haley’s fans can watch him race this Friday at the JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.