What really goes on behind the scene: data, apps, and a lot of coding. Time to give due credit…

Sunscreen, ear plugs, snacks. These are just few of the checklist essentials that Formula 1 race fans come equipped with to the Grand Prix.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the race car drivers and their teams, whose essentials include fireproof suits, helmets, neck protection, racing boots, and the most important yet unexpected of all… data.

When it comes to motorsports, it’s not just the drivers, but a whole team of strategists and technical experts that live on the fast lane. Much of the discussion around data has largely centered around the enterprise, unnecessarily overshadowing the role of data and technology in other arenas such as the racetrack.

Stephen McNulty, President, APJ, Micro Focus, spoke to DigiconAsia to give credit where credit is due.

Data is transforming enterprises in Asia Pacific. In what other fields is data playing an increasingly critical role?

Stephen McNulty, President, APJ, Micro Focus

McNulty: The big data market in Asia Pacific is booming and is estimated to progress at more than a 20% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2019 to 2027. This growth is being influenced by disruptions beyond the enterprise, with both organizations and individuals contributing to this trend.

For example, when individuals tune into online music platforms, they are unknowingly providing valuable information on their music tastes. Streaming companies, artists and labels, then use these data to deliver music and experiences that is tailored to the user. This is how the next big hit or streaming service recommendations are created – based on data from user preferences.

Every day, hoards of data are being tracked and analyzed across a range of platforms – from music streaming applications, video games, and even racetracks. In fact, in the field of motorsport, there is a strong link between data and success.

How is data revolutionizing motorsports?

McNulty: From car improvements to race strategy, motorsport teams that embrace data have a massive leg-up on the racetrack. In fact, behind the cockpit, there is an entire team of strategists and technical experts contributing to the team’s success.

Jaguar TCS Racing, for instance, uses 50 applications and over 250,000 lines of code per race car to analyze data from previous races and test drives. The insights produced help teams make strategic real-time decisions in response to track conditions, energy level, and competitor positions. These decisions can result in adjustments to the vehicle or enhancements in race strategy, including those made in time-critical windows during a race.

Unstructured data is also an asset to racing teams. From commentator updates on television to team communications on radio channels and fan talk on social media – there are hidden gems behind publicly available data that could potentially be valuable in determining race strategy. By analyzing these data using artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, teams can derive actionable insights that inform tire changes, energy levels, and the next best move in a race. In a sport where performance is measure in milliseconds, these insights can be a game changer.

In motorsports, data is essentially the second engine. It is a foundational element of the sport, powering the driver through the race.

What role does cyber resilience play on the racetrack?

McNulty: Let’s look at this from the perspective of Jaguar TCS Racing. With up to 50 applications and more than 250,000 lines of code embedded in a car, delivering secure applications across the team’s technical environment is crucial to ensuring success on the racetrack. Imagine if an application that determines race strategy was affected by a vulnerability on race day – this would throw both the driver and his team of strategists entirely off track.

To that end, Jaguar TCS Racing relies on advanced tools that regularly scan new and existing code and provide actionable security alerts that the team can address immediately. As a result, the team is able to mitigate vulnerabilities in the development process and subsequently release higher quality applications that will give their team the competitive edge they aim for.

How do data-driven capabilities enable teams such as Jaguar TCS Racing to clinch titles in modern races?

McNulty: One example of how a data-driven approach contributes to Jaguar TCS Racing’s success is in improving the performance of the vehicle itself.

Jaguar TCS Racing competes in Formula E, an electric vehicle Championship, where all teams are required to use the same car chassis and battery. Hence, when it comes to the vehicle, the focus is on developing the most efficient powertrain, including the transmission, inverter, and rear suspension, among others. This process demands more than simply assembling these components – it entails managing multiple systems and software, along with algorithms that optimize energy throughout each race weekend.

These solutions generate massive amounts of data, which teams must analyze to understand and improve vehicle performance.

Embracing advanced analytics and machine learning tools can ensure that valuable insights can be in the hands of engineers and strategists to make impactful adjustments to the cars before the next race. From looking at tire wear to driver inputs, teams can fine tune vehicle settings for improved performance. This capability assisted Jaguar TCS Racing as they clinched the runner-up title in Season 7 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship – their most successful season yet.

As the official technical partner for Jaguar TCS Racing, Micro Focus is proud to be a part of this successful team.