Schaeffler is active in many areas of motor racing and is one of the pioneers behind FIA Formula E, the world’s first fully-electric Formula racing series. Through its involvement in Formula Student, a design competition for students, Schaeffler offers a fascinating mix of motorsport and engineering skill. Schaeffler has been supporting teams with its expertise and products here for many years. The Hall of Fame includes all of Schaeffler’s previous areas of involvement. From desert rallies and tractor pulling events through to the European Truck Racing Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Schaeffler has a long track record in motorsport.
Motorsport is demanding for all those involved. Competition combines technical expertise, dedication, and a passion for innovation. These are qualities that also motivate the young inventors competing in the Formula Student design competition to deliver top performance year after year. Schaeffler has been supporting Formula Student teams with its expertise and products since 2006. The annual Motorsport Academy event held at Schaeffler’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach has already become a tradition.
Formula Student participants and Schaeffler representatives at the Motorsport Academy in Herzogenaurach
Formula student gives budding engineers a unique opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in practice and bring their ideas to the racetrack. The rules give the Formula Student teams one year to not only develop and build their own racecars, but to market them as well. The final ranking is thus based on important economic aspects in addition to technology and racing performance. In their fictitious companies, the students also simulate the marketing and sale of their cars, draw up business plans, and coordinate the costs. On this basis, they then participate in competitions in various disciplines throughout the world. “Success in motorsport is heavily dependent on the abilities of every individual, but most importantly on teamwork. Motorsport requires innovative strength, determination, and courage – and that is equally true of the work that Schaeffler’s employees perform every day. Formula Student is a unique interface between universities and industry”, explained Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Gutzmer, Deputy CEO and Chief Technology Officer at Schaeffler AG.
This successful concept makes the competition and its participants very interesting from an industry perspective. The technology company supports the Formula Student teams with funding and, more specifically, with its products and technological expertise. Schaeffler has also been the competition’s main sponsor in Germany since 2014. Formula Student is a commitment that is paying off, continuously providing a point of entry into the company for valuable employees. “Competing with the best requires passion, curiosity, inventiveness, and team spirit”, explained Corinna Schittenhelm, Chief Human Resources Officer at Schaeffler AG. “In other words, the precise characteristics that Schaeffler and its employees have always represented and that ensure our future success.”
For years now, the Schaeffler Motorsport Academy has been a highlight for the Formula Student teams that are supported by Schaeffler. Since 2014, budding engineers have had the chance to meet Schaeffler experts and big names from the world of motorsport at the Motorsport Academy in Herzogenaurach. Over the course of several days, a series of workshops, exciting discussions, and a panel discussion involving high-ranking representatives are held on subjects like electric mobility, automated driving, engineering, and data analytics and project management.
This provides an excellent platform for students and Schaeffler employees to make initial contact and exchange ideas. Corinna Schittenhelm, Chief Human Resources Officer at Schaeffler, emphasised how important the commitment to Formula Student is for Schaeffler: “These students fit Schaeffler’s requirements perfectly thanks to their passion for new drive technologies, their wealth of practical experience, and the teamwork that they display at all times.”
Every year, many students travel to Herzogenaurach from numerous countries. Together with the specialists at Schaeffler, they explore a wide range of engineering topics and exchange views on organisational questions regarding motorsport. They include the right way to organise a racing team, a practical cost calculation, and creative ways to find solutions together.
As well as workshops and discussions, participants in the Motorsport Academy can also speak in depth with trainees about their everyday working life at Schaeffler. The motorsport-mad students also have the opportunity to get to know real motorsport stars in person. Even two-time DTM champion and Schaeffler brand Ambassador Marco Wittmann has been part of the Schaeffler Motorsport Academy. He was happy to answer the students’ questions, share his experience of motor racing, and offer helpful tips on how to develop and design race cars.
Pioneers in FIA Formula E
Electrifying fully-electric motor racing takes place in the heart of some of the biggest cities in the world. FIA Formula E has captured the spirit of the times. Schaeffler Motorsport has been involved since the very start of the world’s first fully-electric Formula racing series. Schaeffler know-how in the field of electromobility, a strong team in Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, and experienced drivers have made Schaeffler’s involvement in FIA Formula E a total success up to 2021.
To stage the first fully-electric racing series in the world – Schaeffler showed great foresight for the motorsport of the future when it got behind this idea from the word go. When the inaugural 2014/2015 season got underway, the company was one of the protagonists on the Formula E scene, underlining as an electromobility pioneer both on and off the track. Sporting success came immediately when Schaeffler driver Lucas di Grassi won the very first race in the series, ensuring the company name went down in the FIA Formula E history books.
Drivers’ title with Schaeffler powertrain system
From the 2015/2016 season onwards, Formula E regulations permitted teams to develop their own electric powertrain, consisting of an electric motor, gearbox, parts of the chassis and the relevant software.
Working together with ABT Sportsline, Schaeffler developed its own powertrain system for competitive racing for the first time in the history of the company. The successful partnership with ABT peaked with the shared celebration of Lucas di Grassi’s drivers’ title in the third season, 2016/2017.
Team title also goes to Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
One year later, car-maker Audi entered the series on a works basis. Schaeffler also provided the electric powertrain, the heart of the car, for the newly formed Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team. The season culminated in a thrilling finale in New York. Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi secured the points they needed in the final two races of 2017/18 to secure the team championship title.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler celebrated numerous further successes before Schaeffler’s involvement in Formula E came to an end in 2021. Boasting two titles and 47 trophies, the team became one of the most successful participants in the first six years of the fully electric racing series and produced the most successful driver, Lucas di Grassi. At the end of the 2021 season, the Brazilian driver topped the all-time driver rankings with 36 podiums, including twelve wins, and 908 points.
The period of involvement in Formula E was a hugely successful time for Schaeffler, as the pioneering company played a key role in the race series from the word go. Schaeffler is now focusing primarily on the DTM in terms of motor racing involvement. Thanks to Schaeffler, this also now has a fully-electric future – the DTM Electric. Schaeffler, series and innovation partner for the DTM, is working hard to turn that into reality.
Sim racing – Simulated reality. Real sport.
Sim racing represents technological progress, passion for innovation, and sporting competition. Sim racing represents the perfect addition to Schaeffler’s already well-established involvement in motorsport. After all, the automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler is helping to shape the future of mobility with help from numerous innovative simulation technologies. In 2021 Schaeffler brand ambassador Sophia Flörsch also competed in the VCO ProSIM SERIES as a real-world Pro alongside some renowned Esports racers.
Sim racing is an established Esport format in which the whole race is virtually simulated as realistically as possible. From the visual representation of the racetracks and vehicles through to the realistic physics of driving, every possible parameter of which can be individually altered using a range of different vehicle modifications. As in real motorsport, success in sim racing depends on a combination of skill behind the wheel, professional preparation, and technical expertise.
The simulation expertise at Schaeffler contributes to efficient and sustainable continuous development of technological applications. At Schaeffler, simulation technology is implemented in a host of disciplines, including in drive technology, in the chassis area and also in the development of wind turbines. Simulated motor racing makes it possible to experience this key expertise on an emotional level. That’s #WhyWeRace.
Sophia Flörsch on the virtual racetrack
Schaeffler is also stepping on the gas in virtual motor racing. In 2021, brand ambassador Sophia Flörsch was representing Schaeffler in sim racing. From the third race onwards in the VCO ProSIM SERIES, Sophia competed as a real-world Pro alongside SiFaT Performance driver Jan Wenninger.
Sophia has a high-quality home simulator on which she trains almost every day. For Sophia, the emphasis is on having fun, but Esport racing also brings advantages for the real racetrack. “It helps to increase awareness in racing situations and to get a feeling for the first curve and the first lap. You can also learn “the perfect lap for qualifying and internalize the rhythm of a racetrack”, explained Sophia.
Schaeffler Motorsport Hall of Fame
Schaeffler has been involved in motorsport for decades, and in addition to major motorsport series like Formula E and the DTM, the company also actively sponsors other series and events. The Schaeffler Motorsport Hall of Fame provides an overview, and it highlights how firmly rooted the company is in the motorsport sector and thus how it continuously tests its expertise on racetracks and rally courses throughout the world.
Tough endurance tests
In the German-speaking region, there is hardly a more experienced expert in off-road racing than Armin Schwarz. Having been active in the World Rally Championship for many years, the native of Franconia has been competing since 2006 in 800-hp Trophy Trucks in the SCORE International desert racing series and the Baja 1000, the season’s pinnacle event. Schaeffler and Schwarz have been enjoying a partnership for many years. In 1986, for instance, on winning the title in the Mitropa Rally Cup, the company’s brand ambassador was racing in an Audi 80 quattro wrapped in a livery featuring Schaeffler’s INA product brand.
24 Hours of Nürburgring
Twice around the clock
A motorsport highlight for Pros and a fascinating challenge for privateers – the 24 Hours of Nürburgring are the major endurance race on German soil. In 2022, Schaeffler brand ambassador will be appearing in the BMW M4 GT4 in the Green Hell. In 2013, Schaeffler sponsored Bonk Motorsport. The family-owned outfit won the GT4 class with a BMW M3.
Kings of motorsport
Clutches from Schaeffler’s LuK product brand help transfer the 8,000 horsepower of the pulling tractors to the ground. In 2012 and 2013, the Le Coiffeur Tractor Pulling team from Bad Iburg in the 2.5-ton class even competes with a 4,000-hp tractor sporting Schaeffler’s colors and celebrates success after success.
500 miles of Indianapolis
In a different day …
More than 100 years ago, the “Marmon Wasp” race car won the legendary “Indy 500” – not least thanks to ball bearings from Schaeffler’s FAG product brand.
WEC 24 Hours of Le Mans
The measure of all things
High speed and high tech – the WEC (FIA World Endurance Championship) combines both in special ways, which makes the series an attractive stage on which to demonstrate the innovative power of high-end hybrid sports cars, energy efficiency being the magic word.
In 2014, following Porsche’s return, Schaeffler becomes a partner of the premium manufacturer. This corporate pairing soon emerges as the measure of all things. From 2015 to 2017 Schaeffler and Porsche celebrate the double world championship three times in succession and thus go down in WEC history.
Schaeffler and Porsche are unbeatable also in each season’s pinnacle event at Le Mans, in which the drivers are on track four times as long as in the season’s other races. In the winning car of 1970 and 1971, the Porsche 917, bucket tappets of Schaeffler’s INA product brand were operating.
A desert adventure
Be it in the 1980 VW Iltis, in Jutta Kleinschmidt’s Mitsubishi Pajero or in the VW Race Touareg – products from Schaeffler were used in all of these winning vehicles.
LuK Clutch Challenge
An American dream
In 1989 and 1990, LuK was the title sponsor of a touring car championship in the United States in order to enhance the brand’s popularity overseas.
European Truck Championship
Shaking the earth
5.5 metric tons of weight, 1,100 horsepower, 5,600 newton meters of torque – the “monsters” of the European Truck Championship are the largest, heaviest and most powerful circuit racing vehicles.
Schaeffler was involved in the Central American series for four years. The title win by Mexican Jorge Goeters in 2012 marked the highlight of this commitment.