“LIKE CLOCKWORK”

It’s all about having the right charging and driving strategies, team spirit, and above all, having fun with electromobility.

As the sun sets on the Magdeburg Börde, the Opel team are assailed by both the icy air and the complex math they’re doing. Partial differential equations are input with variables like speed, residual current, and dropping temperatures. The Opel experts congregated around Dr. Peter Ramminger sit before their screens, constantly calculating the best possible symbiosis between driving and charging. Just like in Formula 1 races, this Eco Grand Prix for e-vehicles will be decided in the pits.

But just a few minutes later, as Volker Strycek jumps out of the
Corsa-e for a pit stop, one thing becomes clear – the e-mobility race as a whole will be won behind the wheel. “It’s an incredible driving experience!” shouts the racing legend and winner of the prestigious 24 Hours Nürburgring to his companions. He grins so much that his helmet can hardly contain his broad grin.

↑ Video: How the Eco Grand Prix went for the Opel team

 

 

On the move: 40 vehicles participated at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben – and headed to the pit lane to top up on electricity.

A little improvisation: The Opel team has to move all of its equipment to the neighboring pits due to a power outage.

At the event held at the end of November in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, the winner is the team that has managed to cover the most laps after racing for one day and one night. At the premiere of the marathon for electric cars last year, the private Opel team – headed by engine developer Dr. Matthias Alt and an Opel Ampera-e – celebrated a sensational fourth place. Now, a year later, two private teams from Rüsselsheim have made it to the Magdeburg Börde. This time, they have two pre-series models of the Corsa-e. And they run “like clockwork” says Dr. Matthias Alt, as he glances at the timer on his wrist at 4:20 a.m. Just over half of the race has been completed.

It’s a demonstration of what
e-mobility can achieve.

 

 

 

The Eco Grand Prix is a demonstration of what e-mobility can achieve. 40 purely electric vehicles – ten more than the previous year – pull up to the starting line at 4 p.m. in the afternoon on this wet, cold November day. By the end of the race, the vehicles have managed to cover a total of 16,460 laps on the 2,435 meter track in just 24 hours. That’s 40,810 fully electric kilometers – more than one full circumnavigation of the world. What’s even more impressive is that the charging infrastructure is made up of conventional three-phase sockets. That’s because the racing series is intended to show that electromobility doesn’t need a special infrastructure.

From dusk till dawn: The sun reflects off the Corsa-e as it covers the 2,435 meter track, lap after lap.

Crunching numbers: Roland Matthé calculates the best possible strategy for driving and charging.

Challenges, premieres, and uncertainties – or in other words, everything that makes a competition thrilling.

 

The 24 hours of Oschersleben is full to the brim with challenges, premieres, and uncertainties – or in other words, everything that makes a competition thrilling. Roland Matthé, specialist in energy storage devices at Opel, is among those celebrating his racing debut on the track near Magdeburg. After spending a few laps in the slipstream of racer Volker Strycek, the newbie “More or less had an idea of how to approach the bends.”

Then, a sudden power outage lasting half an hour paralyzes the Opel pits and a few competitors, causing the team from Rüsselsheim to move all of its equipment to the neighboring pits.

 

Lights, camera, action: The Motorsport Arena Oschersleben hosted the Eco Grand Prix for the second time.

Talking shop: Racing legend Volker Strycek gives instructions.

Keeping their finger on the pulse: The team continuously works on the best possible racing strategy in the Opel pits.

 

Both Corsa-e models master
over 1,000 kilometers.  

 

Powering up: The Corsa-e recharges via a charging cable.

Max power: The two pre-series models of the Corsa-e in formation flight.

Celebrations all round: The Opel electric cars arrive in at 12 and 15 place.

Ab diesem Zeitpunkt – eine halbe Stunde Ladezeit geht verloren – sind die Aussichten auf einen Spitzenplatz für die beiden Opel-Teams illusorisch. Den Rüsselsheimer Kollegen ist das egal. Jeder Boxenstopp wird zelebriert, jede Differentialgleichung aktualisiert, jede Kurvenanfahrt optimiert. Stunde für Stunde. Schon aus dem Grund, weil die Gigabytes und Terabytes an Daten, die Runde für Runde gesammelt werden, den Opel-Kollegen der Entwicklung wichtige Erkenntnisse liefern, wenn diese später in Rüsselsheim ausgewertet werden.

“The Corsa-e has the
potential to become a
high-endurance vehicle.”

 

 

By the end of the race, the Opel electric vehicles manage to achieve 12 and 15 place. The team – made of up racing legends and newbies, strategists and mathematicians, experts and laypeople – is over the moon. As team captain Matthias Alt says: “The two Opel electric vehicles were incredibly reliable. We’ve managed to prove that the Corsa-e has the potential to become a high-endurance vehicle. And driving with electric vehicles is addictive.” It sounds like this won’t be the last time the Opel team makes an appearance in the Börde. ♦

 

Pure euphoria: Racing legend Volker Strycek (center) after the race.

The gang (from left to right, standing): Dr. Matthias Alt (team captain), Dr. Peter Ramminger (specialist in electric drives), Volker Strycek (racing legend), Stefan Fieldler (racer and engineer), Dr. Klaus Pochner (specialist in programming electric drives), Robin Strycek (racer and engineer), Dr. René Henn (racer and engineer). From left to right, kneeling: Roland Matthé (specialist in energy storage devices) and Dr. Ralf Jäger (specialist in data collection and analysis). Maggie Strycek (pits manager) and Francois Wales (racer and engineer) are also members of the team.

 


December 2019

Photos: Mario Bartkowiak, Video: Martin Geisler