There is no doubt about it: IndyCar’s new-look challenger is a hit. But behind the widespread fanfare, a quieter evolution has occurred – IndyCar’s performance electronics solutions have received a substantial upgrade.
Automotive and motorsport electronics specialist Cosworth – technical partner to the series for over 20 years – has invested heavily in its performance electronics solutions over the past two years. Now, drivers and teams up and down the IndyCar grid are reaping the rewards, with the ability to collect and analyze track data faster and more accurately than ever before in a streamlined, reliable and higher performing system.
“The level of information we can now provide to the driver through our new Cosworth solutions is fantastic,” said a leading IndyCar team. “The telemetry service allows us to plan for changes in the pits before the car has even radioed he is coming in. The support team do an excellent job of getting us up to speed with the new Cosworth system.”
One of the main talking points is the new steering wheel, featuring an integrated full color, fully customizable display unit for the first time. The drivers can switch between pages of their own choosing, customized to show the data and information they have identified as the most beneficial while on-track.
To capture this data, Cosworth has upgraded its data acquisition and control systems. Its new Central Logger Unit provides IndyCar teams with class-leading logging rates, synchronization, bandwidth and memory in a lightweight and compact package. This connects with the newly unveiled Synchronous Junction Unit, providing high performance input and output expansion with best-in-class data synchronization using EtherCAT™ bus technology.
Once the data has been captured, it needs to be processed and analyzed. IndyCar teams are now using Toolbox v9, the latest specification of Cosworth’s analysis software, which enables faster and more efficient data processing, helping the engineers and drivers to maximize performance on track. Finding that extra ingredient could deliver a pole position, podium, or win.
Incredibly, these leading solutions are not just available to drivers at the highest echelons of motorsport. For some time, Cosworth has been implementing its motorsport-cultivated knowledge in wider automotive applications. Thus, the AliveDrive system was born.
“At Cosworth, we have been pursuing a race-to-road ethos for some time,” said Cosworth’s Managing Director of Electronics, Thomas Buckler. “We’ve been taking our motorsport expertise in performance electronics and implementing it in automotive applications around the globe.”
Developed from the same suite of analysis software successfully deployed in motorsport series around the world, the AliveDrive system allows users to review and focus on key areas that can improve performance. Drivers can be coached on their braking points, driving lines and corner speeds, using tools born from those used by their racing heroes such as Sebastien Bourdais and James Hinchcliffe.
“Our AliveDrive ecosystem allows users to record their drive for fun or peace of mind, relive memorable moments and analyze their performance, much like the use of Toolbox in IndyCar. It also provides an on-going relationship for the car manufacturers and their customers,” continued Buckler.
The AliveDrive system is only the beginning of Cosworth’s electronics journey into the automotive sector. The company is also pioneering innovative technology for use in connected and autonomous vehicles.
“To help us take our learnings from the track to the road, we’ve expanded our U.S. footprint with our brand new state-of-the-art technical facility in Detroit – our second Advanced Manufacturing Centre,” says Buckler. “We’ve also grown our team in Indianapolis, which will strengthen how we apply our IndyCar – and wider motorsport experience – to the road.”