Driving Digital Innovations and High Performance On and Off the Race Track

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Digital innovation has driven engineering advances for many sectors, including our businesses, homes, transportation and energy systems, and entertainment. The motor speedway is no stranger to the advanced technologies arising both inside the vehicles and outside. The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is one of the fastest-growing series in motorsport dedicated to efficiency and performance driven by leading technology. Similarly, Fortinet drives digital innovations through our Fortinet Security Fabric. BMW Motorsport relies on Fortinet to secure parts of their motorsport environments and operations across a highly distributed infrastructure.

We spoke with Andretti Motorsport’s Roger Griffiths on the partnership between Fortinet and the BMW i Andretti Motorsport Formula E Team and the shared commitment for high performance, reliability and innovation.

As an innovator in the electric mobility space, what role does technology play BMW i Andretti Motorsport?

Technology is the hub of everything that we do. Whether it's the technology that powers the electric motor of our cars, the technology inside the battery that fuels us through the race, or the technology in our IT infrastructure that powers the garage, technology is essential and critical to every operation of the racing team. Performance is key in our race and the FortiGate NGFW gives us a secure, no latency VPN connection between the track and the operations room.

During races, data needs to be accessed quickly and securely. Can you talk more about the role IT security plays for the team?

Data at the end of the day for a racing team is really its IP. The data we gather is essential to our performance during the race event. A lot of this data is competitive information that we work hard to gather, retain, and secure. It’s vital that this information is protected. We need to ensure that all of our systems are locked down as much as possible. For us, cybersecurity is super critical, particularly in today's world where we can be attacked not just on the racetrack, but from every direction.

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is one of the most data-integrated race series worldwide, how does data performance impact BMW i Andretti Motorsport on and off the track?

Data is what we live for. Every time the cars go out, there are multiple sensors on the car from which we're continuously harvesting information. We use it to measure the performance of the car, the performance of the drivers and the performance of all the systems that are being engaged during the race.  Data is essential for our operations because it can take many different shapes and forms, but it's what we do with it and the analysis of it that matters most. That's what really gives us the results at the end of the day because it gives us a thorough understanding of everything that's happening, both on and off the car.

How has technology contributed to BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s success through a more distributed workforce?

Our engineering group is distributed all across Europe. We’ve actually been working very effectively together, using the latest information technology and techniques to be able to communicate, share information, and move the program forward. We've adapted very well, not just in this COVID world, but also because of the environment and the nature of the distribution of our engineers around Europe. We've never seen a let up in the efficiency or the performance because of the distribution. I think we've been smart with the approaches that we've taken, and we've actually maximized it and seen enhancement in efficiency. We're not traveling as much as we used to, but that means we have more time to spend actually doing the job. We feel it's been an advantage to be able to do what we do.

Conclusion

Digital innovation is an essential part of network transformation and technological innovation that has the ability to transform the digital world for the better. However, these advancements rely on the security of the networks that allow new technology to function efficiently and securely. The Formula E vehicles deliver immense acceleration and performance, making Formula E the ideal platform for technology innovations that not only enhance racing, but will also impact future generations of electrified and electric vehicles. Fortinet is proud to be part of the 2021 Formula E season and share in BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s commitment to innovation, high performance, and reliability.

Find out how the Fortinet Security Fabric delivers broad, integrated, and automated protection across an organization’s entire digital attack surface from IoT to the edge, network core and to multi-clouds. 

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