Simon Pagenaud knows a thing or two about speed. As the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion, Pagenaud led the series in just about every key statistical category, including wins, poles, podiums and laps led. He attributes part of this success to Team Penske’s savvy use of technology.
“We use a lot of technology around racing, more and more these days,” Pagenaud says. “This has evolved so much throughout the years that now we have data analytics in the race car. So every time I press the brake pedal, the throttle steers the car around, my engineers see that live on a graph. We can also analyze the performance of the competition live and treat the information right after each session.”
DXC Technology is one of the primary sponsors of Pagenaud, driver of Team Penske’s No. 22 Dallara/Chevrolet IndyCar. DXC also provides technology services to Team Penske, a motorsports leader for more than 50 years and one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports.
This ongoing partnership is built on both companies’ common pursuit of performance excellence. Not only is Team Penske looking for ways to increase the speed of the car itself, but they are also focusing on ways to increase the speed and quality of the decisions that go into achieving winning results.
“We have two practice sessions in qualifying, and sometimes we only have one hour between each practice,” Pagenaud says. “We need to figure out how to make the car the fastest we can within an hour, and all this information will help us to do that.”
The world of racing is changing rapidly, as is the automotive industry as a whole. As automakers and software shops come under tremendous pressure to respond quickly to changing consumer trends, some say vehicle software development needs to approach “ludicrous speed.”
So what’s next for Team Penske, and for racing in general?
“We’re looking at the race car in a very precise way, but we haven’t looked at the driver as much yet,” says Pagenaud. “I think there will come a time where the driver will have just as many sensors on himself to see his breathing, his heart rate, the stress level he’s at, the hydration level.”
The ultimate goal for Team Penske is to push innovation in technology to drive results. “My job is to go around the racetrack the fastest way possible,” said Pagenaud. “The goal is to win — you don’t go racing to finish second.”