An accident data recorder is mounted in the cockpit under the driver’s legs so it is well-protected in case of an accident. The ECU is mounted on the left-hand side of the car as the right-hand side is what normally hits the wall first at an oval where the cars run counterclockwise.
KV Racing Technology technicians work on driver Tony Kanaan's car in preparation for the Indy 500 (May 27). Electronics are positioned in the car to pose minimal hazard to a driver during a collision.
One piece of IndyCar electronics is unique -- the steering wheel that contains the displays and controls customized to each driver. "Wheel components are located so the driver can operate them without taking his/her hands off the grip," Woodie said. "All components are aerospace-grade, and water- and dust-proof." For reliability, the steering wheels are torn down and re-built on a regular basis, replacing controls as they reach mileage or age limits. A quick-release collar/connector on the steering wheel allows it to be changed out in seconds with a backup wheel during a pit stop if there is a problem.
"Critical controls are hard-wired through the steering column. Others operate through the CANbus used by the dash display mounted on the steering wheel," said Knowles.
Over the last decade, IndyCar electronics have evolved dramatically -- and become more complex. But they have become smaller, lighter, and more capable -- making the cars lighter and faster, while improving data acquisition and control.
Learn more about the Indy 500 at Littelfuse's Speed2Design site.