TE's Rich Harmer teams with Andretti Formula E race engineers.

A Lot to be Thankful For

Working alongside a team committed to achieving optimal performance.

We are back from the Thanksgiving holiday.  The team doesn’t get much down time during the year so the shop is closed for the entire week of Thanksgiving, as well as a couple weeks around Christmas. Everyone welcomes the break and opportunity to be with family and friends during the holiday. Being from the UK, this was my first Thanksgiving in the States. Since I don’t have any family here, Brandon Kuck, a mechanic on Robin Frijn’s team, invited me and my wife for a Thanksgiving meal. Brandon has been great to work with and I’ve included a photo of him when the TE Test Car visited CEATEC in Japan. I’ve only been at Andretti a few months, but the culture is very similar to TE – everyone is like family. So for Thanksgiving, I had a lot to be thankful for – a great and supportive wife and a great company in TE that has given me some amazing opportunities throughout my young career. 

Yasuyuki Ueno (TE VP and GM Automotive Japan) and Brandon Kuck (Andretti Formula E Mechanic) at CEATEC Japan.

Yasuyuki Ueno (TE VP and GM Automotive Japan) and Brandon Kuck (Andretti Formula E Mechanic) at CEATEC Japan.

We are busy preparing for the Punta del Este race in Uruguay. The weather here in Indianapolis has become very cold. I am looking forward to going to a warmer climate and also trying to better our podium finish in Malaysia. As much as we focus on the next race, we are already starting to think about next season. Andretti has been granted manufacturer status, which means they will run their Andretti Technologies built powertrain package for Season Three. As a result, a number of the car’s components will need to be redesigned to try to achieve maximum performance - an exciting challenge!

I have been working closely with Andretti’s powertrain supplier, HMI, to specify TE’s high-voltage components for the emotor, where the phase cables are both bolted to the stator and run up through the bell housing and into the inverter. It is here that the team needs a bespoke connector solution to allow for regular disconnection in order to gain access for service. I identified the HVP800 3pos product as being the most suitable as it can accommodate the 50mm² shielded cables in a tight packaging solution, which is both robust and lightweight. As we progress further through the project, TE will provide the necessary support with crimping and assembly of the cable to manufacture next season’s cars. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as we progress.

Three position HVP800 180° female connector assembly, code A (part number 1-2177063-1)


Three position HVP800 header assembly, code A (part number 0-2141230-1)

Switching Gears

A number of people have asked me about the Andretti Formula E race engineers. Dave Seyffert works with Simona, and Chris Gorne with Robin. Both are very bright and being around them has exposed me to a different aspect of engineering. Ultimately their main responsibilities are attempting to tune the different parameters on the race cars to allow the drivers to get the best performance during qualifying and the race. It’s quite challenging and requires many different skill sets.  

Andretti Formula E engineers walk the track with Simona and Robin to better understand every twist and turn

Andretti Formula E engineers walk the track with Simona and Robin to better understand every twist and turn

Information from the car is collected through sensors and stored in an on-board computer and data logger. After each practice session, the engineers analyze the data and then sit down with the individual drivers and compare how they are approaching each section of the track. Looking at the data of both drivers enables them to see where performance improvements can be made. The drivers also provide input on what they are feeling and how the car is handling. The driver has an important role in working with the engineer and providing feedback. The engineers have to take into account the data and how the car feels to the driver at different points of the track. It can be tight in one corner and loose in another. It is quite fascinating to hear the discussions and look at all the data being produced. Too bad I can’t share some of the data with you – sworn to secrecy as we are wanting to win races!

I need to head into a sensors meeting for the IndyCar program. I will try to write before we leave for Punta del Este. Thanks again for supporting TE and the Andretti Team.