Tech Insight: 488 GTE telemetry
WEC

Tech Insight: 488 GTE telemetry

Maranello | 13 May 2020

It is no secret that telemetric data analysis is one of the keys to success in racing. Over the years, this field has become increasingly important. Research and innovation have accelerated unprecedentedly since car manufacturers started using simulators.

Every parameter of the car, engine, tyres, mechanical and aerodynamic components, is recorded and analysed, in real-time on the track and after the race on-site. Reading and analysing the telemetric data is essential, for example, to check the setup, to improve driver performance and car reliability. This is why the availability of engineers and technicians with years of experience of pushing the use of telemetry to the extreme in Formula 1, is a competitive advantage that Ferrari can deploy in its pursuit of FIA WEC championship titles.

The 488 GTE is designed to use various telemetry systems, with hundreds of sensors and dozens of data transmission channels. Their excellent sampling quality makes it possible to run a total check-up of the car not only while it laps the track, but also before, providing important information on the functionality and proper functioning of the car systems. Data is transmitted through dedicated frequencies that the Federation is able to monitor for regulatory reasons.

The World Endurance Championship is one of the few remaining together with Formula 1 that allows telemetry with real-time monitoring, and not just spot-checking (i.e. once a lap) of all the variables, unlike in most motorsport championships. This provides for a continuous flow of information that is processed instantly to communicate data or instructions to drivers in response to a specific situation. The FIA WEC permits the use of mono-directional telemetry which allows the flow of data from the car to the pit wall, but bidirectional telemetry is banned.

Telemetry makes it is possible to see whether if the engine is working correctly, to analyse fuel consumption, to monitor whether any mechanical parts are under pressure or check the temperature of the tyres or the temperature inside the cockpit, up to the aerodynamic loads. The considerable data processing capacity enables a complete overview of what is happening on the track, allowing the engineer, in dialogue with the driver, to suggest what to do to modify a strategy or optimise performance at certain points of the track. It is always the driver, and not the engineer from the pit wall or behind the pit, who adjusts their driving style or changes some of the car’s parameters through the “manettino” controls on the steering wheel or dashboard.

Finally, the telemetric data acquired on the track are used for correlation with the simulator, to continue developing and refining the virtual model used for race preparation. The final goal is to match the telemetric lines of an ideal lap on the track with an ideal one executed on the simulator, an instrument in which Ferrari invests lots of energy and resources. In recent years, the development of technology and the higher accuracy and completeness of the data recorded by the sensors have slashed the gap between these two outputs. In this way it’s possible to turn up at a track much better prepared than previously, significantly limiting the time needed to find the ideal set-up for the car on the track.