Steering Development on Track
Successful season opener at the ADAC Racing Weekend in Oschersleben with a total of three podium finishes for the Audi R8 LMS GT3 #99. DTM rookie David Schumacher successfully completes his first races in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 #31. Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG is using two Space Drive technology carriers in this year's GTC Race, which do not require any mechanical connection between the steering unit and the steering gear, with the aim of developing the technology further towards series production readiness and making it even more robust and reliable through numerous test kilometres.
The first race weekend of the season was characterised by numerous freak weather conditions and cool temperatures, which put the Space Drive electronic steering system to the test and allowed the development engineers to collect corresponding data in very different racing conditions. This year, the Schaeffler Paravan team is relying on two technology carriers with completely different vehicle concepts. At the start will be the Mercedes-AMG GT3 #31 with front-engine concept, driven by regular driver Carrie Schreiner and this time by DTM newcomer and Schaeffler Paravan brand ambassador David Schumacher and fielded by the in-house Space Drive Racing Team. The second car will be the mid-engined Audi R8 LMS GT3 #99, driven by Space Drive veteran Markus Winkelhock and GT3 promotional driver Finn Zulauf. The team is supported by Rutronik Racing.
The weekend showed that we have made significant progress over the winter.
"The GTC is a very important development platform for us, where we have a lot of opportunities to test the Space Drive technology," says Roland Arnold, CEO of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG, who has already been focusing on motorsport as a development accelerator for the technology with his team since 2019. "The weekend showed that we have made significant progress over the winter."
And the results are also impressive. In the first race of the season, the GT60 powered by Pirelli, Audi drivers Markus Winkelhock and Finn Zulauf drove straight onto the podium with third place. Carrie Schreiner and David Schumacher finished sixth in the Mercedes-AMG after 33 laps of the 3.666-kilometre circuit. For DTM rookie David Schumacher, it was his first ever race in a GT 3 car.
"For me, today was the first race in a GT3 car and then with such an important key technology," reports David Schumacher. "I am looking forward to the new challenge. For me, this project clearly represents the future." In contrast to the DTM, David Schumacher will be driving his Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GTC Race with the Space Drive steer-by-wire system. The development carriers from Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG do not require any mechanical connection between the steering unit and the steering gear. The innovative steering technology, which has its origins in mobility for the disabled, is now an important key technology for autonomous driving. "I am positively surprised, you quickly get used to the electronic steering system. First and foremost, the focus for us is on development. We made a good step at the weekend and I am looking forward to working with the team," says Schumacher.
In the GT Sprint races on Sunday, the Space Drive drivers scored points again. In the first race in the morning, Finn Zulauf started from second position. However, he lost out to Salman Owega at the start and finished third after 30 minutes. Mercedes driver Carrie Schreiner started from position 5 and managed to cross the finish line in the same position. In the second sprint race of the day, Space Drive veteran Markus Winkelhock started from position 3. During the race, he was able to prevail in exciting duels against GT3 yongster Salman Owega and offered motorsport at its best. David Schumacher started from position 5 and finished the race in 7th place. "I was able to test the limits of the car, how it feels in the race and will now slowly get to grips with it. The differences to Formula racing are already clear."
"For us, it's more important to achieve test results than placings," says Markus Winkelhock, Space Drive driver from the very beginning and development driver on the #99 Audi R8 LMS GT3 since 2019. "We achieved both: we collected a wide range of data in the wet conditions in the race, and in the dry with degrading tyres. This is all very important for the further development of the steering and, of course, we also scored one or two podiums in addition to the development runs. I'm looking forward to the next development steps, then we'll be on a completely different level again."