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In the precise and connected world of Formula E racing, what happens on the track is only one part of the story. In today’s racing, data science is equally important as aerodynamics and material science, and the data analysis that teams do before and after the races has a substantial effect on race outcomes. 

Race cars are packed with sensors that collect all sorts of data, from the battery (temperature, remaining charge, and energy consumption rate) to the electric motor (RPM and load). Much like cars on the public roads, these race cars are just another node on the IoT. Which is why, in just the past few months, AudiBMWJaguar, and Mercedes have all committed to participating in the young series.  

Before: Simulation

Formula E’s teams and drivers have very limited track time. Therefore, they must get the most out of the on-track data they’re able to collect in order to build thorough simulation models that offer a track preview and guidance in car setup. Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s infrastructure and data analytics solutions give the DS Virgin Racing team the computing horsepower needed to manipulate the massive dataset, providing a guidebook and set of templates from which the team can work. The car rolls onto the track better prepared for the vast array of possible qualifying and race circumstances.

During: Race day

Races are won and lost by strategy, and race engineers must constantly monitor the performance of not only their own car but also the competition’s. The team relies on HPE’s Moonshot servers and 3PAR Storage Solutions to store data in an optimal format for the team to make minute by minute decisions in the heat of competition—when to conserve power and when to go full tilt. Race engineers are able to analyze data between sessions to inform strategies for the next race, as well as make adjustments to the car. Because Formula E relies on an electric battery and the ability to regenerate battery power via braking the car, the teams that end up on the podium are not just those who go the fastest, but also whoever best manages resources.

After: Post-race analysis

After the checkered flag has waved, the team can put all the data together towards refining its models and control software for the next race. It’s a never ending cycle. Like many businesses, the DS Virgin Racing team is using Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s solutions to shape unwieldy data into knowledge that can then be applied back to the market—or race track—as quickly as possible.

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This article was produced on behalf of Hewlett Packard Enterprise by Quartz creative services and not by the Quartz editorial staff.

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