Compuware Corvette ready to race at Infineon Raceway DETROIT (July 17, 2003) -- When the Compuware Corvette Racing Team rolls into Infineon Raceway for the Grand Prix of Sonoma next weekend, it will bring with it a technological edge that could...
Compuware Corvette ready to race at Infineon Raceway
DETROIT (July 17, 2003) -- When the Compuware Corvette Racing Team rolls into Infineon Raceway for the Grand Prix of Sonoma next weekend, it will bring with it a technological edge that could be the envy of many of the Valley's high-tech companies.
Racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) requires advanced technology, accurate data acquisition and analysis, and precision performance. And the Compuware Corvette Racing Team brings this technological advantage to life on the racetrack, winning the first two events in the 2003 ALMS season and capturing both the drivers' and manufacturers' points leads.
"Technology -- and the data it delivers -- is the cornerstone of the Compuware Corvette Racing Team," said Doug Fehan, program manager for General Motors. "Our approach is totally data driven -- the data guides how we orchestrate and coordinate every move we make with the race team. During testing, we can monitor some 400 different parameters, and after each session, download all the information and review it before we go back out. Everything we learn goes back into the car to improve the performance and durability."
Fehan said that technology governs everything from spring rates and camber settings to shifting patterns. At track, engineers work on computer terminals in the transporter, while other work from eight different monitors trackside. Fehan cites the most important technologies as:
* Infrared sensors that monitor brake temperature
* Laser ride height sensors that track the height of the car on every turn of the racecourse, which provides important data about downforce and cornering
* Strain gauges to monitor the strain of horsepower on the axles
Unique software applications from Bosch and Pi Research designed for race teams provide the technology platform for data acquisition. The technology is so sophisticated it can virtually recreate a race -- lap by lap, hour by hour -- to test the performance of specific systems or the entire racecar.
"We would never take a car to a race without extensive testing beforehand," said Fehan. "We want to know exactly how the car will perform on track, how the engine will react, how the chassis will handle well before we get to the starting grid. Conducting thorough data analysis and on-track testing are the most important things we do to prepare for a race."
As technology plays an increasingly sophisticated role in racing, so do engineers. Fehan noted that where once teams had only one race engineer in the entire shop, they now have 15. The Compuware Corvette Racing Team takes two engineers to the track just to download information, in addition to other team engineers. The drivers are becoming more reliant on data, as well. Many review detailed performance graphs and analysis in helping the team set up and adjust the racecar.
"Partnering with GM and Corvette to create the Compuware Corvette Racing program is a great way to reach our best customers with the Compuware story," said Pete Karmanos, Jr., founder and CEO of Compuware. "Racing is a lot like software application development. Most of the engineering, innovation and strategy happen behind the scenes. Just like we help companies optimize their business applications and ensure the quality of their IT programming, the Compuware Corvette Racing Team does a great deal of research, testing and data analysis to ensure the cars achieve peak performance."
The Compuware Corvette Racing Team will field two cars for the Grand Prix of Sonoma -- the No. 3 Compuware Corvette driven by Ron Fellows, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Johnny O'Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., and the No. 4 Compuware Corvette driven by California resident Kelly Collins, of Corona Del Mar, and Oliver Gavin, of Northamptonshire, U.K. Qualifying will be held on Saturday, July 26, at 3 p.m. (PT), and the race will be held on Sunday, July 27, beginning at Noon (PT). The race will be carried live on NBC.