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Cruden HIL integration for Formula E simulators

01 June 2020

Racing in Formula E requires a completely different approach from any other type of motorsport.

Teams not only have to compete with a fully electric powertrain, but the races are time-limited, so the driver continuously has to adjust their energy management strategy to suit the changing race pace of the lead car. Additional factors such as ‘Fanboost’, ‘Attack Mode’ and temporary street circuits mean that winning in Formula E requires a lot of practise. Yet, with only a one-day race weekend format, there is minimal track time in which to prepare effectively. This is why teams have turned to advanced driver-in-the-loop (DIL) simulators, such as those developed by Cruden, to gain a competitive advantage.

“All the preparation by a team ahead of a Formula E race has to be done before the event,” explains Dennis Marcus, Commercial Manager at Cruden. “During the race weekend, teams are essentially executing what they have previously practised and experimented with on the simulator. There’s simply not enough track time to test or implement anything during the race weekend itself.”

This preparation is particularly important when teams and drivers must adapt to new racing concepts such as ‘Attack Mode’ which was introduced last season (Season 5). This is where drivers have to drive off the racing line, through an activation zone, which equips them with an additional 35kW of power that they can then deploy over subsequent laps. The specific number and duration of attack modes are decided by the FIA only one hour before the race. 

“To activate attack mode, the drivers must take a wider line, meaning they lose track distance and, therefore, lap time,” explains Marcus. “They need to practise how to achieve this in the most efficient way possible, not only to minimise time lost, but also to ensure they position the car correctly so that the car’s transponder detects the beacon in the activation zone. Otherwise, they will have sacrificed lap time without gaining the advantage of extra power. You cannot rely on track time to experiment with this, there is simply no time for that.”

Read the full article in the June issue of DPA.

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