After finish with Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler as the most successful outfit, Schaeffler is now developing a drive system for future fully electric DTM.
In fact, with the final race in Berlin, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team has said good-bye to Formula E. For Schaeffler, a highly successful era in the racing series, which the company was instrumental in shaping as a pioneer from day one, has ended. Lucas di Grassi celebrated another victory at the E-Prix in Berlin on Saturday – his twelfth and the 14th for the team. On Sunday the Brazilian finished 20th. Team-mate René Rast was ninth in both races. Since 2014, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team had been on the grid in a total of 84 Formula E races. During this time Schaeffler impressively demonstrated its know-how in the electrification of powertrains at the highest competitive level. The innovative, consistently sustainability-focused concept of the racing series with fully electric race cars on special circuits in the hearts of major cities is a perfect fit for one of the company’s central strategies: shaping electrified mobility with innovative components and systems.
Now, as a series and innovation partner of the DTM, Schaeffler is revolutionizing the world’s most important touring car series and developing a fully electric concept car with nearly 1,200 horsepower, torque vectoring, and Space Drive steer-by-wire technology.
Motorsport was and continues to be the key element of Schaeffler’s DNA – says Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive Technologies at Schaeffler AG. Our commitments in Formula E and now in the DTM are proof of our pioneering spirit and innovation prowess and, as a technology partner, underscore our claim of shaping progress that moves the world forward. We thank Audi Sport, ABT Sportsline and all partners for this collaboration in Formula E that has been so successful. Special thanks go to our drivers and former drivers Lucas di Grassi, René Rast and Daniel Abt for their tremendous personal commitment.
First Schaeffler drive system for racing in Formula E
In collaboration with ABT Sportsline, Schaeffler developed a proprietary drive system for racing for the first time in the company’s history. The Formula E powertrain remained the centerpiece of the open-wheel single-seater race car from Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler even when Schaeffler’s technology partner Audi intensified its commitment in the team with a factory-backed commitment as of the 2017/2018 season. In collaboration with the premium brand the system was subjected to further in-house development and successfully used up until the seventh season. Following the drivers’ title for Lucas di Grassi in 2016/2017, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler won the teams’ classification in 2017/2018. With a track record of 47 trophy wins, the team is currently the most successful outfit in Formula E and Lucas di Grassi the series’ most successful driver in terms of podium finishes (35).
Test laboratory motorsport: from the race track into production
Schaeffler as an electric mobility pioneer recognized the potential of a commitment in Formula E early on. From 2014 to date, fully electric and hybrid powertrains have in fact become a new and sustainable alternative in the automotive sector. Schaeffler has used its Formula E commitment in diverse ways. Compact Dynamics – the supplier of the first Formula E motor – is now a Schaeffler subsidiary and high-tech factory for compact and powerful electric motors. Today, Schaeffler engineers are specifically using findings obtained in the design of the complex power electronics for the challenging power consumption specifications in Formula E for designs on the production side of the house. The same is true for experience in thermal management.
Dr. Jochen Schröder, President of Schaeffler’s E-Mobility Division, says:
Motorsport is not an end in itself for Schaeffler. Every commitment advances us in production development as well. In motorsport, you have to be efficient and creative, think in unconventional ways, and always strive for the next innovation – that’s what pioneers are all about.
Technologies for the electrified DTM of tomorrow
Schaeffler is now focusing its commitment in motorsport on the fully electric future of the DTM. As series and innovation partner of the touring car championship that has been successful for more than 30 years, Schaeffler, together with the DTM umbrella organization ITR (Internationale Tourenwagen Rennen e. V.), presented a much-noticed initial demo car on the racetrack in the fall of 2020. Starting in 2023, the DTM might be racing as a fully electric series. Schaeffler is developing the electric drive systems for the new, fully electric race touring cars planned to be fielded there. The development car is equipped with Space Drive steer-by-wire technology that has already been tested in racing, plus an integrated vehicle dynamics control system for actuating the four motors. In its function as a development mule for the electric DTM, appearances in the DTM’s supporting program are planned for 2021.