Go behind the scenes of sustainable, connected motorsport

It’s just past 8 o’clock on July 10, 2022 at the racetrack in Zolder, Belgium, when most people are just waking up on a lazy Sunday morning. But in a large tent behind the grandstands, a dozen mechanics have been busily tightening screws, drilling, and likely breaking a sweat, as they get their half-built race cars ready for an exceptional premiere.

It was the first competitive race organized by the Electric Racing Academy (ERA). In November 2021, the first of the world’s first all-electric junior racing series had hit the Zolder track. Now, ten drivers were facing off at the 4.2-kilometer circuit at a speed of over 200 km/h. Cameron Hawes from France emerged the winner with a razor-thin lead of just five-hundredths of a second. The ERA team and spectators were thrilled to witness first-hand the successful debut. Three key players explain why this day was so special to them.

The Head

“A dream has come true for our team. Zolder is like home to ERA. Our headquarters are just a couple minutes away from the track, so we started developing and testing cars here. We’ve shed blood, sweat and tears during these past years. 

"Our cars are the first of their kind in the world, and in cooperation with Software AG, we equipped them with cutting-edge technology. The cars are essentially IoT hardware on wheels, meaning that each one has its own 4G hotspot, to be upgraded to 5G in the future. We transmit race data straight to the cloud, and this data is brand new and valuable to everyone: our technicians and engineers, our drivers and soon our fans as well.

"This weekend, we delivered on our promise. ERA proved that we can fill a big gap in the motorsport world and offer young drivers a whole new way to enter the space. Our holistic vision of a race series is more diverse, sustainable and digital than established combustion vehicle series, and it is becoming a reality. That makes me really proud. Looking forward, we now want to grow ERA throughout Europe and then eventually expand to other continents.”

- Beth Georgiou, Cofounder and CEO of ERA

The Tech Guy

“I’ve been in the motorsport business for a while now and people ask me why I put up with all the stress. I tell them, that’s exactly why I do it! Constantly solving problems off the cuff is what I like about it.

"ERA is exciting with so much new stuff going on. Thanks to Cumulocity-IoT, we can see everything in real time. The information we collect includes a lot of technical data about the cars like motor temperature and battery voltage, but also about the driver. And we can use that in relation to other metrics such as weather data on outside temperature or moisture. We are just at the beginning. We are currently at the first mile marker of a journey that passes at least ten markers along the way to achieving greater connectivity and obtaining, analyzing, utilizing and sharing more real-time information.

"The second aspect that fascinates me about ERA is electricity. When a battery is fully charged at the beginning of a race, the car responds similarly to a combustion engine vehicle. But when the battery’s power gets weaker after a few laps, the driver has to adapt. This poses new challenges and requires special tactics. The bottom line: It’s never boring.”

- Lucas Strackerjan, Technical Director of ERA

The Driver

“Driving an electric car is different to a combustion engine, and energy management is a big part of it. How energy is regenerated through braking and decelerating impacts my driving style, which makes it more complex. I think electric motors are a key technology for motorsports and will have an increasingly important place in the sport in the near future.

"Motorsport is a very diverse landscape and I’m certain that there will be many different complementary technologies, of which electric motors will be one. Connectivity is a tremendous concept. It is extremely useful, even essential, for racing as it gives us access to detailed data about what exactly is happening in the car, what input I’m entering as the driver, as well as how the car is responding to me.

"The more information I have, the better I can tune my driving to the car and decide what to do in different situations and in my next race. Additionally, I can use the data as a basis for in-depth discussions with my mechanic. It helps us both understand what is going on and what has to happen to be even faster in the future. After all is said and done, it’s all about winning!”

- Richard Morris, British racecar driver and cofounder of the Racing Pride initiative, which promotes LGBTQ+ inclusion in motorsports

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