Like every Formula 1 team, McLaren is a data fanatic. It is a key cornerstone of success and therefore great importance is attached to the quantity and quality of what is collected and how it is used.
Since 2017, McLaren has also been involved in Formula 1 esports, with its own professional team of drivers and engineers who receive the same level of commitment and support from the company as their real-world counterparts, which includes an equal focus on racing data.
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A real F1 in the shadows
McLaren’s shadow (opens in a new tab) is the carmaker’s esports and gaming division. A virtual racing team is run very much like a physical team, with professional players sitting behind the cockpits of simulation platforms to compete in digital Grands Prix.
And as in reality, establishing partnerships with other companies is crucial for McLaren. Along with Logitech, Shadow has also partnered with PC manufacturer Alienware to provide platforms, Tesos for blockchain technology and NFT releases for esports audiences, and OKX for cryptocurrency exchanges.
“It’s really about how we can work with partners who provide us with an authentic way to bring their technology to life or achieve any goal … leveraging their technology and expertise,” said Eckhouse.
From a data perspective, the main partner for both Shadow McLaren and the real Formula 1 team is Splunk, a software platform that provides all the analytics capabilities the team requires.
Of particular importance is Splunk Dashboards – a feature that allows you to customize data in terms of their graphical representation, such as telemetry readings for steering, acceleration and braking inputs, to make it easier for both drivers and engineers to understand at a glance.
“The Splunk dashboards are a good example of similar technology in terms of exploring different areas – we can also delve into this from an F1 esports perspective to really impact our racing strategy,” says Eckhouse, adding that the chief engineer of Team e -sports F1 actually works in a real racing team, “so again there are common conclusions about the development of strategy in F1 for the F1 esports arena.”
“I think Splunk is probably the best example of how their apps are moving into esports and fortunately, last year we saw them deliver great results,” he adds, referring to the McLaren Shadow team Winning the 2022 Constructors’ Championship (opens in a new tab).
Expanding his partnership with Splunk, Eckhouse explained that the relationship works both ways:
“When you think about the esports audience, it’s incredibly engaged; there is also a high propensity to be in the IT industry in the future or a potential job at Splunk or esports so I think there are so many different applications Splunk is benefiting from the partnership and we certainly benefit from using their technology .