Inside the garage.

Before The Holidays

TE engineer Rich Harmer finds unique solutions for both the IndyCar and Formula E Teams.

The beginning part of December has been pretty busy here at Andretti. And not just the Formula E division but the team as a whole. The preparations for the final Formula E race of 2015 in Uruguay have the shop buzzing with excitement. Race teams want to race and it is been some time since Malaysia so we’re all anxious to get back to the track and also to some warmer weather. The IndyCar team is also working hard. The racing off-season does not mean that work is not being done in the shop. Actually just the opposite – this is the time that you put in the hard work to set the foundation for a winning season. Though I work primarily on the Formula E program I am often called upon to help out with the development of the other series.

This is the time that you put in the hard work to set the foundation for a winning season.
Inside the Formula E team's workspace.

A look inside the team's workspace, where the solutions come together.

Recently I was approached by an IndyCar assistant engineer who explained to me that they were having trouble with over tightening the wheel nut during a pit stop. The wheel guns tighten the nuts so quickly that it proves very difficult for the tire changers to know for how long they need to hold the trigger to achieve the correct torque for the wheel nut. It is not something you would think about very often, but here at Andretti, it is all about attention to details. I was able to find TE Sensor Solutions CS1210 Reaction Torque Sensor, which can accurately and quickly measure the amount of torque being applied. Using this sensor, along with an indicator light, will give the tire changers the opportunity to practice the timing of proper wheel gun technique. Problem solved!

One of the projects for Formula E involved the small 12V battery in the car that is used to run the water and RESS pumps – a vital element of the cooling system. To ensure that the batteries remain at full power when the cars are parked in the garage they are kept constantly plugged into a power supply. However, it is important to ensure that the power supplies do not become overcharged. A small modification is made to limit the supplied current through the use of a small connector comprising integrated resistors. Until this point, only half of the power packs had been equipped with these parts so this week I was able to assist the Andretti engineers by procuring the components needed to build connectors for the remaining packs, plus a spare. As TE has such a large portfolio of electrical components, I located the parts on – a very efficient way to search for products.

I also attended the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show (PRI). This is one the largest exhibitions in the motorsport industry and is held every December in Indianapolis. It attracts over 1,200 companies and over 45,000 visitors. This year, the TE Autosport team had a booth together with their North America Authorized Distributor, IS Motorsport, so I invited engineers from Andretti to attend. The exhibition was a great showcase of the new technologies and innovations that motorsport industry suppliers have been working on over the past year and gave me the opportunity to spend some time with other TE customers, including both race teams and suppliers.

After Uruguay, I will be going back home to the UK with my wife for the holidays. It is been a while since I have seen my family and friends so we’re both very excited. I will write again after the New Year. Until then, have a safe holiday and a great start to 2016. Thanks for all the support.