The car without steering column is a premiere. It has been approved by the German Spart Motor Bund (DMSB) for racing use and will in future participate in the DMV GTC racing touring car series. Further development steps are also planned here.
The technical basis is the "Space Drive" developed by Paravan, a steer-by-wire technology with road approval. However, it had never been used in racing before. The steering commands are not transmitted mechanically, but within milliseconds by electrical impulses. According to Paravan, Space Drive has already proven its worth over a billion accident-free kilometres in 17 years. The technology is triple redundant: If one controller fails, there are two backup controllers that guarantee reliability. This makes Space Drive an important key technology for autonomous driving in levels 4 and 5 and a basic prerequisite for creating new interior concepts. Schaeffler Paravan Technologie intends to bring the system to series production readiness by 2021.
"You have to act faster in a racing car than in a road vehicle," says racing pilot Markus Winkelhock. "If the vehicle breaks out, you have to be able to make very fast steering movements to the right and left. At the beginning there were my doubts as to whether the motor-controlled steering would meet these requirements. But that wasn't a problem: "The steering is incredibly fast and incredibly precise."
At the next race of the DMV GTC on July 5th and 6th the Steer-by-Wire R8 LMS GT3 will be in action again – this time on the Hockenheimring race track.