Spider in the Computer Network

December 5, 2019

The Porsche racing simulator is one of the most up to date in the world. That’s where factory driver Neel Jani practices the energy management so critical in Formula E.

Resembling a giant spider with black, hydraulic legs, the three-meter-high structure rests on a nineteen-ton steel plate. The system fills the large, windowless room. Neel Jani climbs up and into the cockpit of the simulator. At first glance, the monocoque looks like a soapbox, but in fact it has all the elements of the new Porsche 99X Electric that are decisive for the simulator test. The field of vision is correct; Jani holds a genuine 99X Electric steering wheel in his hands—each button has exactly the same functions as in the actual sports car. The 180-degree panorama of the Paris racetrack unfolds in front of him. In the control room behind Jani, engineers are seated in front of their computers, observing him through safety glass. “Loud and clear,” he says, confirming radio contact. For four hours today, the thirty-five-year-old will rage through the French street circuit, where the ninth E-Prix of the sixth Formula E season will take place on April 18, 2020.

The room grows louder as Jani rumbles over curbs at top speed. Walls and curves are literally flying towards the driver, who can sense even the slightest bump in the cockpit above. What he doesn’t feel in the simulator are the g-forces that affect him whenever he accelerates, brakes, or corners in reality.

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