Shifting Gears for a Data-Driven Racing Future

Introducing a Racing Revolution: An Interview with Beth Georgiou, one of the Co-Founders of the Electric Race Academy

In the heart of Belgium, a revolution in motorsports is taking shape. The Electric Race Academy (ERA), founded by the team of Beth Georgiou, Rudi Penders, and Dieter Vanswijgenhoven, is rewriting the rules of racing. ERA's mission is about transforming motorsports into a realm that is not just thrilling but also sustainable, equitable, and accessible. In 2021, ERA ignited its journey with the world's first all-electric junior formula racing series, marked by events across Europe and a historic inaugural race at the legendary Circuit Zolder.

In the following interview Beth Georgiou shares insights on how data integration, technology, and innovation are propelling ERA's mission forward.

Beth, in short, what is ERA all about?  

The Electric Race Academy Championship stands as the vanguard of electric junior formula racing, pioneering a paradigm shift in motorsports. Our mission is to democratize the sport, ensuring its sustainability, accessibility, and equality for all.  

What's new about ERA in 2023?  

So, this year has been particularly exciting for us on a technical level. Not only have we dedicated significant effort to developing our second generation of vehicles, but we've also been exploring how to leverage our data effectively. With approximately 1200 data points on our cars, a substantial volume even in the realm of motorsports, we're now focused on harnessing the power of data integration to transform this wealth of information into tangible value for our customers, drivers, partners, and fans. 

Why is the integration of data so important for ERA?

It's deeply ingrained in our entire approach. We adopt a holistic perspective and maintain transparency with our data. This not only benefits our fans and drivers by providing opportunities for learning, but it also offers our engineers a clearer understanding of on-track dynamics, enhancing safety. Additionally, our partners collaborating with us on development gain access to the data, allowing them to assess how their components and technology perform within the car.

You're using the Super iPaaS of Software AG for data integration. Why is it a good solution for you?

We've recently begun implementing Super iPaaS, and it's truly remarkable. This technology allows team members who may not have a strong IT background to issue natural language commands, a feature we find particularly exciting. Essentially, it streamlines our processes, enabling a single data engineer to accomplish what would have previously required the effort of ten. This significant leap in efficiency has had an incredible impact on our team's skill set and is generating great enthusiasm. You mentioned one example, like using natural language, which is a game-changer for us.

Please, give us another example why data integration is important for you.

Another vital aspect of data integration is ensuring that our fans and customers can access this wealth of data. While we aim to provide extensive data access, it's equally crucial that we maintain control. In scenarios where there's a sudden surge in data requests, an unmanaged influx could potentially overload our system. Data integration allows us to effectively manage this by regulating and distributing data precisely where it's required. This capability is particularly critical for the various fan-related activities we're engaged in.

Do you think integration is necessary when it comes to sustainability as well?  

Oh yes, because it underpins our ability to fulfill our sustainability objectives. Without data integration, achieving our goals, both on and off the track, would be significantly compromised. It plays a pivotal role in efficient track time management, guides driver performance, and enhances our engineers' understanding of the cars. Moreover, it enables us to streamline our team's efforts, a crucial element in our holistic sustainability strategy." 

Our driver: Thomas Hasenöhrl, Vice President IIoT Systems & Solutions at WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG

So what's your actual outlook for ERA? What will happen in the next two years?

We're eagerly anticipating the unveiling of an exhilarating 2024 racing season that will see us extend our horizons. In the coming months, we aim to provide in-depth insights into our ventures in the AI and gaming domains, promising innovations that will captivate your attention. Furthermore, we're on the verge of announcing our upcoming calendar, promising an eventful year. However, it's not just about the racing schedule; the strides we're making in AI integration and gaming are genuinely thrilling. We're introducing groundbreaking concepts that are poised to redefine the norm, and I can't wait to share these with the world.

How does your partnership with Software AG help in driving motorsports forward?

Our partnership with Software AG is the driving force behind our transformation into the most digitally progressive entity in motorsport. It's a thrilling journey that's set to unfold over the next few years. The possibilities at our fingertips are virtually boundless, and our focus is now on charting the ideal course to realize our objectives. Becoming the forefront of digital transformation in motorsport is exhilarating, opening doors to a multitude of possibilities. The forthcoming years promise a cascade of exciting developments, although the exact destination remains a mystery. One thing is certain: it will play a pivotal role in propelling us towards our goals.

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