Rodi Basso, Motorsport Director (LinkedIn Pulse)
McLaren Applied Technologies
I have lived and breathed motorsport for over 20 years. Now, in my role as the director of McLaren Applied Technologies’ motorsport team, I hold the privileged position of shaping the company’s vision for the future of motorsport.
So, what does that entail?
Our vision is to use our extensive experience, expertise and strong relationships with race series and teams around the world to make motorsport more sustainable, competitive, and entertaining for the fans.
We have a long and proud history of supporting the motorsport community and providing teams and series with innovative, reliable and cost-effective solutions.
That’s why we’re a trusted supplier for not only IndyCar but also NASCAR, Formula 1, MotoGP and LMP1.
And this year marks the tenth anniversary of our partnership with IndyCar. I’m proud to say our Electronic Control Units (ECUs) have never failed in that period.
So, what’s next for our team? Since our inception in the early 1990s, our presence in the sport has benefited many series and teams.
We plan to expand our portfolio to support to more race series in the world, from the elite series to professional GT. We’re constantly reviewing our product portfolio to guarantee user friendly systems across all series that allow teams to make the difference.
With our expertise and experience, we will continue our upwards trajectory, delivering a high level of technology to teams from hardware to software, to our engineers trackside.
To ensure we continue to push the boundaries of motorsport innovation, we constantly look for strategic technical partnerships with companies who share our values and appetite for technology excellence. For example, in the US we are proud to work with Atieva as a technology and manufacturing partner on incredibly challenging projects in motorsport and automotive.
We're also looking for strategic technical partnerships with companies sharing our values and appetite for technology excellence.
Although we provide standardised solutions across multiple motorsport series, our technology inside is anything but that. Ask any accountant at a team and they’ll explain the strain that research and development puts on a team, both in terms of resource and budget. Our role providing solutions across the grid keeps motorsport accessible, ensuring all teams start on a level playing field. Applied Technologies is removing the burden from teams by offering sustainable, and race-competitive solutions.
Hardware wise, our ECU platform is flexible. In Formula 1, teams can programme the ECU to create differentiators. In NASCAR and IndyCar, the ability to programme the ECU is restricted, so teams do not have to resource departments to manage programming.
In terms of software, our real-time data telemetry system ATLAS is used by teams in multiple series. We’re already developing the next generation of ATLAS, which will provide teams with a more accessible system with faster processing power.
By providing hardware and software platforms, teams can plug in and add their value. Teams can then work on performance differentiators, such as innovating aero upgrades that will shave lap time or even transferring their racing technology to their road cars.
What makes McLaren Applied Technologies truly unique? Our people.
Creating quality hardware and software solutions is just half of the battle. Our people are there to maximise the technology at the track, ensuring the technology delivers for the teams, and the fans.
But it’s not just the technology for the teams we’re here to deliver, we also have the expertise to develop driver talent from the ground up, through Applied Technologies' Human Performance Programme.
Team & driver development
Motorsport needs more quality drivers, but to do that, we need make motorsport more accessible. We owe this to the sport, because the more drivers there are, the more series there will be and the more cars there will be on tracks.
Applied Technologies proposes to marry its pedigree in motorsport and expertise in health to create the ultimate team and driver development package.
Our driver development isn’t just about racing. It’s ensuring drivers are at their absolute peak fitness to perform to their maximum capability. We can train IndyCar drivers to drive in Formula 1, NASCAR, LMP1. That’s part of the future of motorsport.
We’re in the process of planning the state-of-the-art McLaren Human Performance Centre, which will be headed up by McLaren’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Adam Hill.
The centre will combine cutting-edge medical technologies and data analytics to extract unique insights, allowing strategic interventions and ensuring peak human performance for athletes. We’ll also have access to the latest scientific research and innovations through a vast spread of cross-industry and academia collaborations, including Oxford Medical School and Imperial College London.
We combine our simulation capabilities with our expertise in health to create the ultimate driver. A person who is always at peak fitness, both mentally and physically, and somebody who can truly understand data from telemetry, to work even closer with engineers to find a competitive edge.
And as for our simulators, we believe they’re among the most technologically advanced in the world. They are capable of simulating open wheel and GT racing – and road cars too.
Our simulators provide a platform whereby we can provide a car model for the team, or teams can bring their own car model, which we can plug into our platform. All data and insight is owned and viewed exclusively by the teams and nobody else – a similar concept to our ATLAS licensing programme.
Teams that plan to race in one or multiple race series will have an efficient and sustainable way to design and develop their cars, saving money on parts, tyres, fuel and track hire costs.
Entertainment in motorsport
Ultimately, Applied Technologies are in motorsport to ensure continuous improvement across motorsport, from the teams to the fans.
Fans are the lifeblood of this sport. They turn up in their thousands rain or shine, and tune in their millions all over the world. Week in. Week out.
So our future vision for motorsport? Technological solutions which will not only enhance the viewing experience at the track, but everywhere, from fans homes to their phones.
We want to give fans a greater ownership of and access to motorsport, their sport. And with McLaren Applied Technologies' unique ability to see and maximise the potential of an increasingly connected world, I’m confident we will deliver it.