To keep in contention DS Virgin Racing turned to HPE for big data crunching tech
Formula One has long been a technical race as well as one that showcased the prowess of drivers and performance of car makers. But now it has a smaller sibling, Formula E bring a purely electric take on the pinnacle of motorsport, which is also enshrining technology at its core.
In September 2014, Formula E made its debut, showcasing a different take on Formula One. Sure the cars look alike but the petrol guzzling turbocharged V6 engines have been replaced with electric motors, and dedicated tracks like Silverstone have been shunned for temporary circuits built in the centre of major cities with races taking place in a single day.
In the space of a day, the race teams will go through two practise sessions in the morning then face a qualifying race at midday before the main race takes place in the afternoon.
The one day city-based format throws up a different set of trials for race teams than those faced in Formula One.
“We race in city centres exclusively on bespoke tracks designed for us, which is really exciting and interesting for the fans but that creates a lot of challenges for us,” Sylvain Filippi, CTO at DS Virgin Racing, told Silicon UK.
Formed from a partnership between Virgin and the performance motorsport arm of car maker Citron, DS Virgin Racing, much like Formula E, is a relatively young team in the world of motorsport.
A tech race
Each team is only allowed one car in the race and once its design has been finalised for the season that’s it; there is no opportunity to rework it between the season’s races, only calibration for the track and race conditions is allowed.
That doesn’t differ too much from Formula One, but data is the key to getting the calibrations and race performance spot on, and this is where the one-day race format really throws up some challenges. To surmount them Filippi and DS Virgin Racing turned to Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).
“The fact that we arrive at a city on a Thursday and we see the track for the first time, we see our garage for the first time, everything’s temporary, we don’t really know what we’re getting; it makes the infrastructure really tricky and the one day format makes is really challenging,” he explained.
“So all this made me realise very early on when we started the team that developing a good car and having good drivers would not necessarily be enough; we also need really strong operations and we need to operate really efficiently as a team, so we started talking to HPE about this.”
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