Creativity is king in motorsport as we chase the marginal gains that give us the winning edge. When teams want to understand some facet of their machinery better, and need a solution that doesn’t yet exist, McLaren Applied Technologies is ready to create it.
Many of the telemetry solutions taken for granted in motorsport were designed by us to address a specific need in Formula 1, but their potential extends beyond single-seater or even four-wheeled sport. Our partnerships with a number of leading MotoGP competitors amply demonstrate how our daring innovations can leap across borders.
We pioneered remote tyre-pressure monitoring in 1998 on Mika Häkkinen’s championship-winning MP4-13 F1 car, bolstering its competitiveness and safety with a discreet, robust, high-fidelity sensor package that set a standard others followed.
Tyre-Pressure Monitoring System
In MotoGP we offer an advanced development of this concept tailored to the unique demands of motorcycle racing: not only does it measure tyre temperature as well as pressure, it does so over the entire width.
This offers a significant advantage in motorcycle racing, where the outer reaches of the tyre experience sudden spikes in temperature under load as the vehicle leans over while cornering.
The sensor also measures the temperature of the carcass rather than the surface of the rubber, which is more valuable since it gives engineers a deeper understanding of how the compound is behaving under the stresses of competition than a surface temperature readout would. Equipped with this data, teams can formulate strategies to mitigate the effects of temperatures rising on one side of the tyre through long corners while dropping or remaining static on the other, which might present a problem for the rider when the track layout calls for them to change direction suddenly.
Our MotoGP sensors are bespoke systems designed to fit ergonomically inside a motorcycle wheel. They are light, so as to minimise imbalances that would have to be corrected by adding further compensation mass, and yet offer greater fidelity than ever before. As a development of technology that has 20 years in the competitive field, they are robust enough to withstand the enormous rotational forces inside a motorcycle wheel as it reaches its maximum speed for lap after lap.
MotoGP is an exciting, open series with space for innovation, where marginal gains are important but so, too, is a great intangible: the rider’s ‘feel’. Our solutions help engineers to understand the behaviour of the bike and provide data-led ratification of the rider’s impressions.
Along with our in-wheel sensors we offer three-axis accelerometers featuring compensation for thermal drift, and these are just the entry points in terms of the bespoke products we offer; we’re currently developing new solutions to measure lean angle with an unprecedented degree of accuracy.
Every customer has a different preference for size and form factor and mounting position. And in MotoGP, the compact nature of the end product demands a smaller form factor even than Formula 1, while being an equally hostile environment in terms of temperatures and vibration.
All of these are challenges we’re meeting as we help our MotoGP customers scale new heights of competitiveness.